The Final Post (for now)

Hello Readers!! I am sitting in the Tampa airport with a direct flight to Providence which means I am clearly not in Europe anymore.. I am not very happy about it, but I am so thankful for the experiences I have been given. I may or may not still post occasionally if I take a day trip or two (this is “Kaylavatheworld” you know), but for now I am just going to sign off with some small things from this trip.

Things I Learned:

  • Details about the Holocaust that my high school history teachers never told me about
  • Pigeons in Europe are absolutely wild
  • You can eat tomato soup twice a day if you want to
  • How to blow glass
  • They sell pink beer in the Czech Republic
  • The Sound of Music was filmed in Sudetenland
  • You can blow through money very quickly in Europe
  • Polish police are so much more fit than Americans

Things I wouldn’t change:

  • The friendships I made
  • The amount of fried cheese I ate
  • How happy exploring makes me
  • Buying my wool slippers
  • The amazing pictures I got of the beautiful views
  • Bringing Spuddy, my stuffed potato, with me (he made a great pillow on the bus)
  • Doing what made me happy

Things I MAY do differently:

  • get out of my comfort zone even more with food
  • pack warmer clothes like hats and gloves
  • sleep a little more
  • stop ignoring my school work and get my mandatory czech “crime-related” news paper article earlier in the trip
  • I actually don’t think I would change a thing… so…
  • LEAVING

I really don’t think I could tell you guys EVERYTHING about my trip… It was so amazing, and I can’t wait to go back one day!

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The Last Day

Today was a little uneventful for a last day in my opinion. We went on a day trip to a church made completely of bones and we also saw where they made coins. Then we had a fabulous lunch and presented our final topics to the class. Mine was “punishment and torture” and we kinda messed up, but that’s okay. For dinner we went on the most amazing dinner cruise. It was absolutely beautiful and I couldn’t think of a better night. Though there wasn’t much going on today, I am so sad to be leaving tomorrow. Keep in touch for my “last day review” tomorrow!!

Naps

I’m nearing the end of my trip and I’m very sad about it. Today we started with a presentation on criminology from one of the 18 people working in and studying crim today. He spoke about the crime rates, the punishments, and also how the study of criminology started here in the Czech Republic. For lunch I went to a British fish and chips place and got chicken nuggets. My friends said it looked like chicken, but after tasting it, I’m not sure it was. We then took an hour and a half bus ride to the Kost Castle. Is was super pretty, and the torture chamber was really cool. After that I just about passed out on the drive back and now I’m heading out for dinner! Not a super eventful day, but it was nice to relax!

Do Re Me Fa…..

When you hear someone mention the 1940s what do you think of? I think of WWII and the holocaust. That may just be because I’m here in the Czech Republic and there’s a lot of talk and remembrance of that era going on. Either way, there is one person I’ve learned about who has really stuck out to me and that was Nicholas Winton. During the 1940s he saved over 600 children from the nazis in Prague. He went to their families and told them he’d keep the children safe and return them after the war. Now I’m not sure I would trust some strange man with my children, but these men and women were desperate. Winton found families all across the UK to watch these children and as promised, he returned who he could to their families after 1945. Nicholas Winton was a very humble man. He never told anyone of his work and his wife never even knew until she found the list of the children’s information in their attic decades later. A fun fact about this wonderful man is today, May 19th, is his birthday. Sounds familiar? Well today, May 19th, is also my birthday and nothing makes me feel more special than sharing today with him. Today was a wonderful day to celebrate my birthday on. We woke up in Cesky Krumlov (which makes sense because we slept here) and we took a tour of the tiny town and visited their gorgeous theater. For lunch a few of my friends and I went to a little sandwich shop which was delicious, and then we did some shopping. I bought myself the nicest wool slippers and I am very excited to wear them despite the sweltering summer weather coming my way. We then went to Sudetenland where The Sound of Music was filmed. Or at least the part where Maria is dancing in the fields is filmed there. Anyone who really, really knows me knows The Sound of Music has to be in my top two favorite movies. If there was any birthday gift I could’ve gotten today it would’ve been to go here. When we got to Sudetenland, we hiked a mile and wound up at the Austrian/Czech border where I took pictures standing in two countries. So many cool things are happening today to make it so special for me. Eva (our tour guide) randomly started staring at me and singing and it took my a second to realize she was singing me happy birthday. Then she pulled out little ladybug girl earrings. Incase you don’t remember, Eva calls us “beruskys” which means “ladybugs” in Czech, so it was really sweet of her!! I am very excited to head back to Prague to go out and celebrate turning 20!!!

Snow White’s Cabin

Today was one of my favorite days so far. We woke up, ate, and were out the door for an overnight adventure. Our first stop was a glass factory where they made hand blown glass sculptures. My tour guide asked for two volunteers and after picking me announced that I was going to be able to blow my own glass. They said I was a natural because I was able to twist and blow the glass perfectly. When I shaped it I just kind of pulled and twisted and my glass resembled a slug, so when I went to the gift shop I bought myself a glass snail as a memory (as much as I wanted the pig). I am so grateful for my chance to do this! After the glass factory we headed to the brewery. PilsnerUrquell is the first brewery to make lager in the world. They are famous for their golden lager, which I didn’t know until I came. The brewery was amazing. The barrels for fermentation and the holding tubes were absolutely gigantic. After in the souvenir shop, I found a pink beer which was really cool because pink is my favorite color. To be honest, it tasted relatively similar to a fruit roll up which was a little too much foof for even me to handle. My lunch today was fantastic. Four of us went to a pub because the bistro next door was closed. I got a regular old burger with cheese, bacon, onion, lettuce, and secret sauce, but it tasted so much better than any burger I’ve ever had. As my side I got roasted green beans with onion and bacon which was a little bit of a stretch from what I usually eat. Those were delicious as well. We traveled two more hours to Cesky Krumlov and we’re staying overnight in the cutest bed and breakfast where it feels like I’m in Snow White’s cabin. My birthday is in four hours here. Very excited for tomorrow!!!!


Prison

Today we went to prison. First we visited the male prison (which had a few females) and it was completely different from prison back home. The criminals wore everyday clothes and they slept in college dorm-like rooms. In the second prison which was solely for females, it was even more laid back than the first. They were connected to a church where they worked and were allowed to get on the bus and go to wherever they wanted as long as they came back for night. I couldn’t believe it. We also climbed a good 200 steps to the top of a watchtower. I was so, so afraid. You all know my fear of heights… I was supposed to climb the mini Eiffel Tower as well, but after the first one, I was too scared. I had a very good day anyway, and I’m glad I tried something new! Plus, I finally found that tomato soup I was on the hunt for!!

Tomato Soup Hunt 

Today was a better day weather wise, but the time difference is still really getting to me. A few of us went out for a bit last night and I really should’ve caught up on sleep instead. This morning we woke early to go to Terezin which is not only a town, but a concentration camp in Czech. This camp had two parts to it; the large and small. In the small part Jews, political prisoners, and POWs alike were kept there. In the bigger “ghetto” part it was only Jews. This camp was not as big on executions as some of the others. It was more of a transfer camp where prisoners would stay there for a while before getting transported. There were roughly 60 transports of 1,000 prisoners where anywhere from 0-8 of each transport survived the war. Can you imagine a place as such? We went into a few museums while we were in Terezin, but the one that stuck out most was the children’s museum. The walls were covered in the names of those who died, and their paintings and drawings from the war were hung. I lived such a fairytale childhood, I can’t imagine going through anything like that. Our second half of the day was spent in Lidice. We watched the movie based on it last night so it was really amazing to be standing where the original city was burned to the ground. 86 children and every single adult male were killed as well as some of the women not surviving. Those who lived came back to no home and no family and the land is now a memorial park. How could something to beautiful lay over something so tragic? If you have a chance I really suggest you watch it! Tonightafter I look for some tomato soup we’re going on a ghost tour so I’m really excited for that!! Wish me luck and hope I don’t get haunted! 

It’s raining, it’s pouring 

I woke up today feeling like I had slept for two hours. Nothing should have made things worse than walking through Prague in the rain with temperatures of 45 degrees. Did I hate my day though? Not at all. Our first bit of the day was a tram ride to the Prague Castle. Ever hear Crazy Train by Ozzy Osbourne??? Of course you have, and well that was the theme song of our morning. The castle was absolutely beautiful, but after paying for a ticket, we learned we weren’t allowed to go into the cathedral due to a ceremony. After a quick lunch break, where every restaurant we tried to eat at was “full”, we went to the Jewish town. It was pretty cool! For dinner we went to Cafe Louvre which is where Albert Einstein once drank coffee and probably had a piece or two of cheese cake. My food was amazing and made up for such a bad day with freezing rain and wind fast enough to knock me over! 

Prague, Baby

Today was our first day of actual fun here in Prague! We started our day with a tour of the old and new towns. If any of you have heard of the author Franz Kafka, we saw where he was born and where he went to school. We also got to see a lot of places of the demonstrations during the communist regime. Speaking of communism, after my Burger King lunch we went to the communist museum. Our tour guide, Eva, actually grew up here in Prague and lived through the communist era. Until she was 16, she didn’t know of The Beatles. She didn’t watch any more than two censored television stations, and she was taught that Americans were evil. Can you imagine living in a world of so many lies and secrets? For someone with two communist parents to barely speak to them anymore over their beliefs was hard to wrap my head around. Today really opened my eyes to the world outside of the USA and what they’ve lived through! Off to dinner soon! (Pic feat. is Lenin)

Wake up, wake up beruskys

Today was a day of sleep to say the least. We left Poland this morning and drove two hours for a stop at the polish police academy which was really interesting. Unlike our police academies they had a simulation village with fake banks and pharmacy a to practice drills and a martial arts gym. Then we drove another six hours to the Czech Republic. Last night was crazy and so we all got about 3 hours of sleep to prepare for today and therefore passed out for all eight hours on our bus. Not quite sure how I’m going to sleep tonight. I can’t explain how many times I heard “wake up, wake up little beruskys” today. In Czech, beruskys means lady bugs and that what our tour guide calls us when she wants us all to listen up. I am so excited to be in the Czech Republic now with all the fried cheese in the world, and now it’s time for this little berusky to “sleep, sleep.”