11.12.2009 - 16.12.2009
Christmas has finally arrived in my mind. I have felt very disconnected from the idea of Christmas this year. It is due to the lack of family, Christmas carols, Christmas commercials, and snow. It surely also has to do with the fact that I have been living in a little travel bubble that prevents me from remembering the day let a lot the time zone I am in.
My roommates and I went on our last trip together to Prague over the weekend. It was as wonderful as it was depressing for me. I am being left behind in an empty apartment with Christmas plans that have been revised at least three times. As far as I am concerned this year, there is no Christmas.
Prague could very well have been the North Pole. The Christmas market spread the spirit while a background of an enormous twinkly Christmas tree shone beautifully, silhouetted against a building that reminded me of Sleeping Beauty’s castle.
It was cold outside, but hot wine and tzdelnik kept us warm. Tzdelnik is impossible to say but so amazing! It is rolled out dough wrapped around what looks like a rolling pin tightly coiled and glazed in sugar. It is rotisseried over flames until the outside is caramelized. Then it is pulled off of the wooden pole and rolled in more sugar, vanilla powder, and almonds. Served hot, it is hard and crunchy on the outside and soft and doughy on the inside. As I untwined my last one (my third in two days...), I vowed to try to make it at home. Take a look in my photos, it is pretty neat. We were also happy to find our old Hungarian friend goulash soup, and this time in a bread bowl!
For the record, I do know how much I talk about food in this blog haha.
Angie, Marah, and I took a free tour that was the same company as the one Marah and I had taken in Dublin. Again, it was awesome. How the guide performed so energetically in that weather, I don’t know, but we were happy that he kept us on track. Surely we would never have walked around for three and a half hours in the cold without our commander in chief.
We saw the most unique clock in the world. It has so many rings and dials; I can’t even remember them all. There were ones for the zodiac signs, names for each day of the year, Roman numeral time, normal time, things that popped out, a cuckoo on top, etc. The clock is truly a piece of art to look at, and on one occasion guided me home safely.
There is a story that connects to the clock. The designer of the clock actually had his eyes burned out and was blinded by Czechs. The reasoning was so that he could not make any clock like it ever again. The Czechs wanted the clock to be unique because it was their monument. The designer got his revenge though when he stole a crucial piece of the clock and it didn’t work again for around a hundred years. The moral of the story …never make anything really unique or amazing?!
We saw the last building standing that Mozzart played in, Jewish quarter, a castle, Charles Bridge, and a tower that looked nearly identical to the Eiffel Tour, but was built a couple years after and is much smaller. Our guide actually mentioned that it was the same size as the Eiffel Tower, but that is including the huge hill it was on though.
We ended our tour near Charles Bridge. I stopped paying attention when a couple jumped out of a fancy car. They had just gotten married and were taking photos on the staircase across the street. They were so cute. It started raining and the man pulled the woman’s veil over both of their heads in an attempt to protect them both from the rain. He carried her up the stairs, took some photos with her, and then put a coat over her shoulders. It was freezing cold, but they still looked so happy all dressed up in the rain. It was the perfect little fairy tale wedding in my head.
After I snapped out of my ADD, our tour had ended. I noticed that our tour guide didn’t mention once that he took tips only for his tours. Very classy -he was probably in his thirties and was very professional. I would recommend the free tours to anyone.
We rocked out a pub crawl that evening with a discount for dropping our tour guides name. The guy in charge was hilarious. He gave us a speech at the beginning and portrayed himself like a drill sergeant. He barked out smart-ass comments and orders about drinking the free absinth and how to steal beer from other tables. It was a really fun night excluding the ending when I got lost and walked up and down a single street literally five times. I did have a map- it was just a little hard to read at the time…
The next day we explored one of the castles and a church that highly resembled Notre Dame in Paris. The buildings across Charles Bridge into Old Town resembled Disneyland. They were pastel coloured and tall and narrow. Some of the buildings had interesting patterns that looked textured, but as we got closer to them they were actually painted that way. They were unlike any buildings I’ve seen.
We wandered into an absinth store that sells real absinth, not the bright green kind. The man told us that if we took four shots, cut half with water, we would be talking to trees. I’m hoping that they won’t take it away from me when I hit the boarders back home. If they do, I’ll be drinking some quickly and talking to the wings of the airplane.
The remainder of the day we just enjoyed eachother’s company. For my roommates Marah, Shani, and Jesann, Jesann’s boyfriend Claudiu, and Angie it would be the last time we all travelled together. How strange. We played poker in the hostel and sipped on Czech beer. We taught Marah how to play chess, and honestly it was just really nice to relax.
The trip to the airport the night before our flight on the way to Prague proved to be hell because we missed the last shuttle bus, metro, and went the wrong direction on a bus to Angie’s house missing the last bus. If it wasn’t for the nicest radio taxi driver in Milan who was already done for the night, we wouldn’t have made it back to Angie’s house with all of our luggage in time to have the two hours of sleep for our trip to Prague. He literally drove us to the bus stop to see if any more would come, waited with us so we wouldn’t stand in the cold, and then drove us right to Angie’s doorstep after we missed the last bus. The kicker is that he wouldn’t accept one penny. I revoke my big city bitterness. His kindness was refreshing.
We hoped to avoid this whole scenario second time around, so we left with ample time to get to the aiport and sleep for four hours.
I slept maybe thirty minutes because some guy came and put two water bottles of what resembled pee near me and ran out the door. I looked out the window as I rubbed the sleep from my eyes, and he motioned at me to drink them. I freaked out thinking he was about to pour them on me, so I stayed on look out and finished my book.
There are some real weirdos that hang out in airports.
Extra pickles and pepper on a turkey sub from Subway made it all better though. Tasted like home.
Angie had been waiting to see flurries all weekend, and just when we got on our plane, it snowed! She is from L.A., and when she looked up the forecast that called for “flurries” she didn’t even know what that meant haha. I love my American friends.
This week I have been super busy with school. It is finals week. Two ten page papers, two photography hand made books, and a final exam. Boo.
I am however, leaving for Sicily tomorrow night, so there is light at the end of the tunnel. My roommates all leave over the course of this weekend. I decided that I would book a trip and take off before they could leave me behind one by one. Pretty clever I thought…
Tonight is our last roomie dinner at the Pizzeria across the street. We’re going to eat, play some poker at our place, then go party for the last time all together. It feels like just yesterday that we all got here, and now they are already leaving. I am nervous to be on my own, but this is the real test of strength. There are still plenty of people in Milan that I know, but I’ve never lived by myself before.
Don’t be surprised if you get a lot of e-mails from me in the next two weeks, I don’t have much planned and I will probably be lonely. Miss you guys,
Love you always,