Not sure what program is right for you? Click Here

© 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Study Abroad in

Back to Program Back to Blog Home

2 posts from October 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. 



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. 


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.


 Some Czech men selling their wine

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

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,


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),