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Entries about tourist sites

czeching out prague

...sorry, but i had to.

View The Yinzerspielen experience on ctamler's travel map.

it is all i can do not to find this language ridiculous. this is because the only words i recognize are english words that have just had a slight spelling change and a "y" added to the end.

ryby (ribs)

...i mean, come on. that's funny.

when we arrived, i took 2000 kc out of the atm (a little over $100). the atm gave it to me in one 2000 kc bill. the woman at the internet cafe looked at us like we were crazy when we tried to pay for 30 minutes of internet (30 kc) with a 2000 kc bill. all we needed was to look up our hostel information (that's right, ladies and gents, we forgot to write down what hostel we had booked and how to get there before leaving for prague).

today we bought tickets to see the czech premiere of august: osage county on sunday.

me: do you have tickets available for this show?
ticket lady: we don't perform this show in english.
me: oh that's ok.
ticket lady: that's ok?
me: yes, that's ok.
ticket lady: ...ok.

dear world: we like to see theatre even when we don't understand the language of performance. get used to it.

today, we (that's me, lauren, parag, and christina) wandered around the jewish quarter of prague. it is stunning. the old cemetery: mounds and mounds of graves, over 12,000 stones and there are far more people than that buried there, the stones sticking out at crazy packed-in angles like the snaggleteeth of a hick horde. giant hicks. the golem rabbi is buried there. and the old-new synagogue, the oldest extant synagogue in europe. and another, the pinska (i think that's right) synagogue, painted with the names of czech jews killed in the holocaust.

there is a display upstairs in pinska of pictures drawn by children in theresienstadt, the propoganda camp. one of the most intense holocaust-related things i have ever seen. children were still children.

Posted by ctamler 10:27 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

rain on rangitoto

all seasons in one day
View Studying in Auckland on ctamler's travel map.

i climbed a volcano today and it was flipping sweet. actually, here, they say "sweet as." originally i thought they were saying sweet ass but it was actually the option that makes even less sense.

you take a ferry to rangitoto, which is the most recent volcanic island here, formed about 600 years ago. and you hike up to the crater, which is absolutely huge, and not bare like i expected it to be but full of vegetation and just impossible to capture the enormity of it on camera. and then up to the summit, a bit past the crater, from whence you can see a far-off view of the auckland skyline, and sailboats, and so forth. it was raining and sunny alternately on the way up -- "alternately" is on a scale here that is totally foreign in the states, the weather changes ridiculously quickly, on the weather channel they don't really forecast only tell you what it's like right now -- but this turned out to be perfect because when we got to the summit the sun came out and there was this giant rainbow over the water and over auckland. gorgeous.

it's also kind of a strange little island, because before wwi, new zealand got nervous that somebody was going to invade, and so they started fortifying. amped it up during the war and during wwii, and rangitoto was one of their main spots, because of the great 360 degree view it's got. submarine nets, minefields, cannon, the lot. and of course nothing ever happened. nobody ever invaded. the remains of some of these things are still there.

it's a relief to be exploring during a non-tourist season. the weather is not bad, especially if you are used to pittsburgh -- it's basically like autumn in pittsburgh, except the weather changes more quickly and is more unpredictable -- and there's so much to explore, so the relatively small number of tourists who are here get spread out all over i guess. europe was so insane with tourists, especially italy. it was so crowded with tourists in italy that it was essentially not really enjoyable -- italy was the least favorite leg of the trip for all of us.

stuff is still really expensive here, though. i've just resigned myself to being painfully in debt to my parents when i get home -- i mean this is despite the fact that the program is almost completely paid for by my chancellor's scholarship/other scholarships. i save as much money as i can by never eating out, getting cheap groceries, not drinking in bars (a pint's usually $6 or $7, mixed drinks can be twice that), washing my clothes in the sink...but everything you do costs money and there is just so much to do here. when am i ever again going to get the chance to see the nz rugby team play the australians? or the royal new zealand ballet perform romeo and juliet? go skydiving in THE place that started it all? see a cave full of glowworms? i have to do it while i'm here. it's not like europe, where it's likely i'll be back many times. nz isn't really close to anyplace else or on the way to anywhere. so this may be it.

Posted by ctamler 15:48 Archived in New Zealand Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)


View Autobahn, adventuring, and Outside Inn on ctamler's travel map.

christina says our days of sun are almost over. we have had frighteningly beautiful weather. at least it lasted through our weekend of adventuring. this has been like a tiny preparation for the long haul we will embark on at the end of the month, and it makes me a little nervous about our stamina.


thursday night we got in and saw a play, pool (kein wasser), which is actually an american play (by mark ravenhill) but was of course in german. watching a play in a language you don't understand is exhausting. my german comprehension is improving by wee bits. i am much better than christina, anyway. however, nowhere near enough to watch a play. every 15 minutes, if i'm lucky, i will have a flash of understanding. then it's all gone again.

leonie and joel were taking the toefl on friday, so we spent pretty much the whole day on our own. we found our way to schloss schonbrunn, which is the hapsburg hunting-lodge-cum-palace where mozart gave his first public performance at six (the age, not the time). the palace was very nice, the grounds outside beautiful. stunning shrubbery. we walked a lot. the gardens were huge and we only saw a bit of them, in hours. then we went back to the city, wandered around, found the stadttempel -- the only synagogue in vienna to survive kristallnacht -- and the jewish district, and then found our way to the restaurant where we were supposed to meet up with leonie and joel. there, we had wienerschnitzel, which is not anything like i expected it to be, but pretty good. afterwards we saw another play in german. i don't know if i can see too many more plays in german, especially if i'm not familiar with them. and then we hung around until our train to munich came at 11pm.

slept badly on the train (not a sleeper train) and got in to munich around 6:30. leonie's dad picked us up and we drove to the countryside, had breakfast, and then joel, christina and i hung out in the garden most of the day, reading and napping. eventually we walked to the biergarten where leonie works to visit her. she lives in a little bavarian town in the bavarian countryside, the name's uberschweinsomething, something that means "waiterpiglittlestream" and is apparently funny in german, too. we had some beer and fried strawberries and after she got off work we watched grease. i had forgotten how bad it is. it's bad.

today christina and i went to munich; leonie stayed at her parents' to work some more, joel came back to augsburg. our attention spans had begun to wane. we did lots more walking; munich has the biggest municipal park in all of europe, bigger than hyde park and central park. it was great. made me want to go to school in munich and have picnics in the park. saw some churches, ate korean food, and then gave up and came home (40 minute train ride back to augsburg). so my point is, we will theoretically be doing that x 14 in a few weeks and we were exhausted after just two days of it. hm.

Posted by ctamler 10:34 Archived in Austria Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

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