15 September, 2009

"Do You Know Where You Are?"

I'm going to apologize in advance for making another picture heavy entry. I know that some computers can't handle this as well as others, but, I think the pictures are a good way to visually describe what I've been doing for the last few days. Also, note the new layout of the blog. I think I like it a lot more than the other one, plus it's more spacious. Thanks to Geoff, I also fixed the button/tag-not-showing-up problem. <3

Friday and Saturday were pretty insignificant days compared to the rest of the weekend, but I'll tell you what went on anyway. Friday we had a meeting at FAMU where we got caught in the elevator, then we had a "family dinner", and after that we went to Club Cross. It was only ok and I came back early because it wasn't my thing. I did get to talk to Geoff though, which made me happy. Saturday morning David and Marek made crepes which were absolutely delicious. We were then supposed to go to a football (soccer game), but when we arrived we found that it was the wrong day which meant we couldn't go. Suck! So, Kris and I then wandered into Old Town Square and got dinner close to the apartments.

Also, did I mention the Prague Swat Team. No? Well, I should have since Kris and I totally got to see them in action. Apparently, there were squatters in a building up the street along with people supporting them and the police were trying to get them out. Well, during dinner Kris and I heard a shot sound and saw people and the swat team come running past the restaurant. Needless to say, we ordered more things and stayed inside for a bit. But, wow...not something you see everyday.

Then on Sunday, CET traveled to Cesky Krumlov, a small town south (I believe it is south anyway) of Prague. This town has a very interesting history, as it is one of the few almost completely intact Renaissance villages left in all of Europe. And why is this...because absolutely nothing happened here.

A quick history goes something like this. The town was established in the 13th century where it prospered and was one of the largest economic centers until about the Hapsburg Empire, where it was taken over and ruled as part of the empire (it was never attacked). When WWI rolled around, the king at the time pretty much paid off whoever came to try and attack the area. In WWII, it was claimed as part of the Sudetenland and thus never really touched (in fact the Nazi's actually took good care of it) and then after WWII, everyone was forced to leave because Czechoslovakia said that anyone who associated themselves with the Germans needed to leave the country. No one then inhabited the area again until 1989 after the Velvet Revolution. Pretty much, as our tour guide Bryce said, "Nothing happened here."

I have to say though, that the town was absolutely gorgeous. I think it was prettier than Prague, but I don't think I could spend more than a few days there. In the few hours of free time that I had, I managed to walk the entire town about 3 times over. But, it was a nice time.

Our trip there started at 7:30am when we left Prague. We arrived in Cesky Krumlov at 10:30am and immediately went to the castle for a tour. The inside of the castle was so pretty. Unfortunately, I was not allowed to take pictures though. That sucked. But, it was an experience I'll never forget. The inside of the castle was painted with an Italian Renaissance style in some areas and then in others a more 18th century style. You could really see where the different families painted over and reconstructed what the families that came before them did. My favorite part of the tour had to be the theatre. It was built and only once performance ever took place after it was built. It was completely restored and was just a dream come true to see. We also got to go under the stage to see the old workings of a stage. I was in heaven.

After the tour, we checked into our hotel and then we had some free time. Kris and I made some friends with the other CET kids, Lisa and Rebecca, and we had lunch and then wandered the town for a bit. We then met up with Bryce again for a tour of the town which gave us the history. Then it was a bit more free time until dinner, where there was food, beer, wine, gypsy band music, dancing, merrymaking and revelry. It was so much fun! I managed to drink 2 1/2 liter beers and a mixed drink of some kind. I also got to dance a kind of traditional Czech/Slovak dance style with Marek, one of the Slovak local buddies who lives with us. He's a really good dancer. I think when I come back I want to take partner dancing lessons. I know I've been saying it for a while, but now I really want to! (Did you get that Geoff? Haha. <3)>

The pictures are starting from the top: aerial photos of the town of Cesky Krumlov, pictures of the castle in Cesky Krumlov, Kris and I in Cesky Krumlov, another picture of the castle, an art school that is supposedly haunted because of where it was built, our tour guide Bryce giving us information and merrymaking at the pub!

But, the adventure doesn't stop after Cesky Krumlov. It continues on. After we left Cesky Krumlov, we headed to see the Iron Curtain Museum. Now, I had no idea what was in store for us at this museum and I wasn't sure how I felt at first about going there. But, once we got there it turned out to be a lot of fun.

The tour guide was extremely quirky and he knew a lot about the Iron Curtain. And he started the tour the best way ever. We were standing outside and it was extremely cold when he finally came running out and introduced himself. He then asked us if we knew where we were. None of us really had any clue because it was the country side in the Czech Republic. Upon our answer of "no", he responded "You are in the Czech Republic...about 4 km (about 2.5 miles) from Austria." Well, that was a bit of a shock. About an hour ago I was in Cesky Krumlov and now I was in Austria...well, that was a lot of traveling.

The museum wasn't the most put together thing ever, but the tour guide knew a lot and it kept most of us interested for a while. The museum mostly focused on the border guards who kept an eye on the Czech side of the Iron Curtain during communism. The one thing I learned that I never realized before was that the Iron Curtain was actually a fence...I thought it was just a metaphor for those involved with communism...not an actual voltage fence/wall.

Ok...now time for more pictures!

These pictures are: a picture of the museum which is an old border guard station house, a picture of the landscape of where the Iron Curtain used to be, warning signs about the forbidden and border zone (these warned that crossing them was dangerous) and me shooting a rifle (I also got to throw grenades as part of soldier training :-) .)

After this museum, we headed back to Prague and made it home around 7:30pm. What a long weekend. But, it was a lot of fun and something I probably never would have done on my own. I really enjoyed it a lot.

And now for a quick update about today. Today I started classes at FAMU. This is going to be an interesting semester. I'm curious to see what stories get to be made, but we have a whole lot to work with and anything is possible. Especially because we actually have a budget.

Also, currently working on an idea for my classes that uses the idea of dream v. reality. Don't know where it's going though. Should be interesting enough though.

More to come! Stay tuned! And feel free to leave comments! I love comments and followers!


  1. So did you hit your targets? And were those just dummy grenades, or what?

  2. I did in fact hit the target. And it was a pretty far away target too.

    As for the grenades, they were dummy grenades and we were aiming for an old soldiers helmet. I missed very badly.

  3. You shouldn't apologize for picture heavy posts, I'm sure no one minds the wait! Getting to connect your words to an image is half the fun, right?