Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Pastel City

In Prague, we met up with Rachel, Kyle, and Emily. We walked around the city some (walking was the theme for this trip), and tried some Absinthe! It was sort of gross. Liquorice is not my favourite flavour.

Or first full day, we spent some time exploring the city, and saw the second most disappointing tourist attraction in Europe (the Mona Lisa us the first)! It was called the astronomical clock, and was in the old town square. Every hour, death (a skeleton) pulls a bell, the sinners hide, and and the twelve disciples circle around with relics. Honestly, what is more exciting than watching the clock is watching people's faces when they realise that that's the whole show. Baffled disappointment on everyone's faces.

While in Prague, we went on a free city walking tour, and learned some history along with seeing the sights. History is much more interesting when you can see the places where things are happening. Being out in the fresh air didn't hurt either!

On the free tour, we heard about the history of Prague, the Czech president who steals pens, and who nobody wants to kill.

We learned about some religious wars that happened in the Czech Republic, and about definistration (throwing people out windows).

After the tour, we stopped by the John Lennon Wall, which was very cool. And colourful.

The next day we went to the KGB museum, which was a tiny little building where the curator was a crazy man who gave us a great tour and told us all about the USSR. He actually seemed pretty sad about it breaking up!

We also came across the most delicious market food at an Easter market. It is called trdelnik, and is a cross between monkey bread and a donut. There is nothing this good at fairs in the states, and I would really like to know why. This stuff is delicious.

After our explorations in Prague, we headed to Vienna on another train! Because trains are wonderful, wonderful things.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Katie and I started off our two week Easter holiday in Berlin, Germany! We made our super early flight on Sunday morning, and when we got to Berlin, we decided to explore on our way to the hostel. When we meandered our way to what we thought was the street our hostel was on, we realised that the numbers went up, and then the street ended. Turns out the numbers on streets in Germany are not always sequential. We eventually made it to the hostel, made friends with some of our hostel mates, and   then headed out to explore the city.

Our first full day in Germany, we headed to Potsdam, a small city outside of Berlin to explore the palaces there. It was really cold, but we had fun exploring the palace grounds, and seeing all the...boxes.

Most of the statues were all boxed up for the winter, but it gave us a chance to really appreciate the absurdity of the uncovered statues.

While exploring the grounds, we found a hidden grotto. Exploring the grotto was totally not trespassing, because there were no signs that told us not to go through the mostly drained fountain, past the spikes, in order to circumvent the locked gates that led directly into the grotto.

It was the brightest thing in the complex, how could re resist? Oh, and those fountains inside? Made of seashells. 

On the way back we rode a double decker train, ate some gelato and tried curryworst! The train was great, but the curryworst was overrated. Think hot dog with sauce.

The next day we went to the Checkpoint Charlie Museum, saw pieces of the Berlin Wall, ate some frozen yogurt, and went to the Topography of Terror, and exhibit about WWII. We also went out with Marcus and Kelly, two people we met at our hostel.  

When we made it our the next morning, we explored the city some more, searched for the elusive Ritter Sport store, and found Rachel some Dr. Pepper!

The next day we took a train ride to PRAGUE!


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Berlin. It's Cold Here.

Well, I have a new stamp in my passport! After waking up at 4:30, and a brief debacle with the train station we needed being closed, we made our flight on time, and successfully made it to Berlin! We hopped on the train to the city center, and after quite a bit if wandering, made it to our hostel. We also discovered that Berlin seems to have a thing for bears. Go figure.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Dead Zoo

You know how most natural history museums have lots of fossils, and charts about soil levels, and skeletons of things long dead, displayed next to artists renditions of what they probably looked like? Not here.

Oh, they had the obligatory extinct animal skeletons, but they skipped the nice friendly dinosaur skeletons and went straight for the nightmare monsters, also known as Giant Irish Deer. Oh, and they skipped the "what this might have looked like when it was alive" picture, so feel free to let your imagination run wild.


The rest of the museum was made up of a vast and bizarre menagerie of taxidermied animals. It looked a lot like what I would imagine much of the Bloggess' childhood looked like, except the museum had much less blood. And none of the animals talked (Don't ask, just buy the book. You will thank me. Or have nightmares. Either way, I win).

They had all sorts of animals, in some very questionable displays. Many of them were in pristine condition, other had not been quite as loved. Or maybe those had been more loved, who knows. Regardless, they were awesome. Unfortunately I missed snapping a picture of wild dogs fighting on top of a severed deer head. There were tons of small scary rodents, a sea otter that was probably much friendlier alive...

A warthog that is on his way to win a beauty pageant.

Just look at that hair. 

James Garfield's brother.

This guy that just wants to be friends, but seems to be in danger of being eaten.

And the eager to please one.

Oh, and did I mention that in honour of St. Patrick's day, they had live snakes?

It was awesome. I made friends. With snakes.


P.S. Snipes are REAL. They just live in Ireland. They are also much less threatening than I was led to believe.

The glowing red eyes must have been replaced when he was stuffed. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

St. Patrick's Day in Dublin

Last weekend was St. Patrick's day, and Katie and I had the brilliant idea to spend Patty's day in Dublin. It was a good choice. Katie and I both arrived Thursday night, so we had Friday and Saturday to explore. This was actually a really laid back and relaxing trip, in that we didn't really have any plans, or sights we desperately wanted to see.

On Friday we went to Marion park and posed with the statue of Oscar Wilde, and basked in the sun...until it started hailing.

We also went to the "Dead Zoo", also know as the Dublin Natural History Museum. Best. Museum. Ever. More on that later, because it needs its own post.

Friday afternoon, we went to a craft beer festival, tried a couple of brews, and learned about the history of beer making in Ireland. It was really interesting, and I learned a lot. Did you know that hops are a natural preservative?

We also randomly ran into Emily and Rani, which was pretty cool. And impressive. Dublin was packed.

Well now you do. Friday night, we walked around and hit a couple of bars. We found one that played a ton of American music from the late nineties and early 2000s, which was cool, but after moving on, we found the coolest bar ever. It was called Cassidy's, they served pizza, there were board games, writing all over the walls, a sheep mounted sideways on the wall, and Luke sky walker flags. Need I say more? It was awesome.

The next day Katie and I headed to the Guinness Storehouse, where we didn't have to wait in line because we had registered online the night before (This, and scheduling a cab to the airport for my super early flight were about all the planning I did. Katie had a list of events that we mostly ignored, but was nice to have.)

Coolest beer statue ever. 

On the way back from the storehouse, we came across one of the weirdest little markets ever, and another food market on a cathedral lawn. Oh! And for St. Patrick's day, they "green" the city. It's great. Saturday night we walked around a lot again, and with the cold, and lights, and awesome street performers playing trumpets, it was almost like Christmas. Except for the drunk people in green. Close enough. 

If you ever get the chance to spend St. Patrick's day in London, I would highly recommend it. As long as you like beer and are okay with crowds and drunk people.