Wow it's been a while. I'd like to share some of my pictures from this last summer. I took an end of the school year vacation to Italy. It was so beautiful but also a bit hectic since I was traveling by myself.
Check it out!
I started out by flying into Naples and staying there for a while.
Above is a great view of the whole city with the volcano in the background. Vesuvius, the volcano, is mainland
Europe's only active volcano.
I didn't do too much shopping, but it was nice seeing what the city had to offer.
Since it was so hot it was great stopping by the ice cream shops and testing out their flavors. In the picture below I stopped by a shop that specialized in chocolate ice cream. I had the white chocolate and it tasted amazing!
Pizza!!! The pizza is so different from American pizza but it is very good. I got the simple tomato, mozzarella, basil Margarita pizza and that was all I needed. It was simplistic but tasty. Compared to American pizzas, Italian pizza is very thin, but the quality level of the ingredients I think is what makes it so yummy.
Next I made my way to Herculaneum by trian. The ride was only about 40 minutes. See the picture below to get an idea of location.
Rick Steves' can better explain some of the background on Herculaneum: It's smaller, less ruined, and less crowded than its famous sister, Pompeii. It
offers a closer look at ancient Roman life. Caked and baked by the same eruption
in A.D. 79, Herculaneum is a small community of intact buildings with plenty
of surviving detail.
After exploring Herculaneum for the day, I hopped on the train again
and made my way to Sorrento. Sorrento doesn't have much to do there, so I
made sure to stay only for one night. It was a rich looking tourist
town, but, it was so beautiful. I'm glad I went there for the day and a
half. Below are some pictures.
After Sorrento, I made my way by trian to southern Italy, Praja. I loved Praja because it wasn't so touristy and it was like paradise. I got plenty of sun and relaxation time. After a busy city like Naples and all the train travel I really needed the lazy time spent on the beach.
The water was so warm and clear. Beautiful.
In Praja I met a really nice Swedish couple and ended up traveled to Rome with them. I didn't have any accommodation set up in Rome so I ended up following them to their hostel where they had room for me. We actually ended up arriving too early to Rome so we just hung around the Rome train terminal at night so we wouldn't have to pay an extra 20 euros for a hostel room. It was an adventure!
Second time visiting Rome! Below is the Colosseum.
After being in Rome for a few days I ended up flying back home to Prague.
So I'm still in India, hanging out with our friend Rohun having an easy relaxing day. I did however run across something very interesting, well interesting to me anyway. I found a book on India's nightlife that has a section with tips and recipes. Score!
So here's some tips I found very helpful: -Do chill the glass before serving the cocktail. Place it in the freezer half an hour before use. -To give the glass a sugar-frosted look, dampen the rim of the pre-chilled glass with a slice of lemon and lip the rim into sugar.
Ingredients: -60ml pineapple juice -5ml lime juice -10ml grenadine -sprite and soda for topping -10ml orange squash
Method: Top the glass with ice. Pour the grenadine first, then orange squash, then lime. Pour pineapple juice and top with Sprite and soda.
Suggested: You can drop in lime slices and cherries.
Apple Pie Mojito
Ingredients: -45ml spiced rum -6 lime wedges -4/5 slice of apple -10ml cinnamon syrup -10 mint leaves -bubbly apple soda/juice -2 cinnamon sticks
Method: Squeeze and drop the lime wedges into the glass. Tear mint leaves over the lime and cinnamon. Muddle. Fill the glass with crushed ice. Add spiced rum, cinnamon syrup and stir. Top with more crushed ice and top with the apple soda.
Garnish with Apples.
Ingredients: -Cut fruits (litchi, kiwi, pineapple, strawberries, apples) -375ml chilled white wine -75ml citrus vodka (to soak fruits) -sprite and apple soda or juice
Method: Soak all the fruit in citrus vodka overnight. Add the soaked fruit and ice into a pitcher. Fill with white wine and top it with sprite and apple juice half and half.
It's about 3pm right now and David and I are just hanging out and relaxing in our hotel. It's been pretty hot here in the Rajasthan region. Today I think it's supposed to get up to 105 degrees. It feels really great to have made it to our hotel after the 7 hour no AC bus trip from Jodhpur. It was quite an experience. Along with the heat we had to experience gusts of dust every so often because all the windows were open and we kept driving into these small villages with no pavement. By the time I got off the bus I was coated with a thick layer of dirt. The dirt was everywhere, in my hair, on my clothes, and all over my skin.
Through most of the trip I kept a eye out the window and observed everything. It was almost like an Indian village safari! I got to see so much over those 7 hours. Whenever we stopped for a break I would peep out the window and get so many stares back. Everyone LOVES to stare at us. I don't mean a causal stare or a 5-10 second stare, I mean a full blown 1-2-3-4-5 minute stare. I can't do anything without being watched here! Sometimes I smile at them or wave and they then realize that they are staring and usually smile or laugh back.
Everyone seems to be really friendly here though. We've come across many people (adults and kids)that politely say hello and ask what our names are and where were from. Many of the locals also love to take pictures of us with them. They always bust out their cameras and take pictures. The funniest is when they don't ask and try to secretly take a picture. Hmmm, let's see, is it really not going to be obvious when trying to snap a picture of someone? It's always SO obvious what they're doing! lol! It's better to ask for the picture because then it's not so awkward. I mean I understand where they're coming from, I take pictures of them so why not take some us strange white people. :)
So when we hopped off the bus (finally) it was 8:30pm and we rushed to the hotel.
We needed to get a hold of the bank right away because for the whole weekend we were stuck without being able to withdraw any money. I guess what happened way the bank changed something with the card providers and some people's cards were affected. And of course there had to be a problem with ours... and on a weekend. We seriously had $20 in our pocket hoping everything would work out... luckily it did.
So far Udaipur seem really nice. It's less hectic then Mumbai, Dehli, and Jaipur (at least in the older historic center area). I checked out some of the shops but they seemed too touristy for me. I really wish I could have done some shopping in Jodhpur because they had neat little markets that all the locals shopped at but that was where we didn't have a bank card working. Some of the cool things I've seen are journals, pictures of the gods, colorful clothing, scarves, bangles, stone necklaces, statues, wood carvings, spices, and so much more. So far I've only bought myself one outfit, some cheap jewelery, and a pair of flats. I need to smooth out the leather on the flats though because when I wore them they were rubbing my skin badly. :(
Ok well this is all for now... I have so much to say but little time to write!
So David and I made it safely to Mumbai and currently we are resting at our friend Rohun's place.
The airplane trip was not that great but we survived it. Since we were feeling pretty sick right before we left we medicated the night before we left and actually were able to fall asleep for a while. We woke up and were ready to go feeling somewhat ok (definitely better not worse), but after the first flight from Prague to Istanbul David and I both started to feel worse. It didn't exactly help that we were delayed for about an hour and half with Turkish Airlines. I was tired and my throat was killing me... Once we made it on the airline though we were able to relax. I tried to sleep but that didn't happen.
When we got through all the customs and picked up our bag, we headed outside where there were crowds of people hovering outside. Luckily the airport put railing around so there was a circle area where people coming out of the airport could situate themselves. The heat when we landed was not that bad. I was wearing my jeans and I was sweating just a tiny bit. I think what gets me is the humidity. Since Mumbai is so near the water it has this muggy heat to it.
We found Rohun right away and made our way to his car. It's great seeing him. He actually just got a job right before we came working as an assistant manager within some Bollywood film company. I guess it's supposed to be a really great job so he couldn't turn it down when they offered it. :) We also met his parents and grandmother, they are all such nice people! I'm excited to talk with them. Since Rohun has to work almost every day, his mom has offered to take us out once in a while too if we'd like. I took her up on her offer and later today we're going to go shopping. I'm very excited to go and find some sweet clothes! I believe it's fairly inexpensive here. I literally didn't have anything in my wardrobe for such heat (the same situation can up in Egypt), I mean when in Prague or on the Oregon Coast will it get up to 100 degrees, nearly never!
By the way, they can make a mean cup of Indian chai over here.... MMMMMmmmm!
David and I leave for India tomorrow! I am so excited!
My main concern however is to get healthy as soon as possible. For the past 3 days I have been having the worst sore throat of my life. I also haven't been able to sleep and have a constant headache. Today I feel a tad bit better but it's still pretty bad. David is in the same exact state as me too. Right now he's in bed trying to recover. We are doing our best though, medicating, taking tons of vitamins, and eating good soup. I had to miss class yesterday, and I should miss class today to sleep in bed and recover... But... I have many things I need to do and I have this one class I can't miss. I also need to finally pay my tuition (always a grim day), and then buy some things at the store for India. I need to buy some sun lotion, tissues, hand sanitizer, and food. I would also like to find something nice for our friend Rohun. Rohun is a cool Indian guy that went to our high school and is now letting us crash with him for about a week. He lives in Mumbai(Bombay), and that's where we'll be flying into.
David and I will be flying from Prague (departing 11:45am) to Istanbul, and then from Istanbul to Mumbai. We will arrive in Mumbai at 4 am! Pretty dang early, but I guess Rohun will be there with a car waiting for us (thank god). The total time of travel with connections will be 12 hours and 45 minutes. We will return may 3rd at 5:25pm. I'll write more later about our itinerary.
Today David and I went to Dilli Delhi at U Vodárny 10 in Prague 3. We ended up having a good experience there. Our waitress even spoke great English and was super nice.
I ordered sweet Lassi drink and David tried the Masala tea. I believe the Lassi (40 crowns) is made with blending some yogurt and milk and Indian spices. It was interesting tasting, but not bad at all. David's spiced tea (40 crowns) was very good, I liked it.
We also ordered this delicious Mulligatawny Soup (50 crowns), it was a curry flavored lentil soup. I ordered the Paneer Masala (155 crowns) (Cubes of Homemade Cheese Simmered in a Thick Creamy Tomato Gravy with Bell Peppers). David ordered the Chicken Biryani (145 crowns) (Basmati Rice Cooked with Pieces of Chicken in a Delicate Blend of Exotic Spices and Flavoured with Saffron). We both ate our meals with the yummy Indian bread naan. Sooo good! I don't know much about Indian food, so I'm not sure how this meal compares to others or the real deal, but I enjoyed it so whatever!
After our meal we headed out and met up with our friends Katie, Kara, Ben and Victor. It's great having then back in Prague for a visit. :)
Also, if anyone is interested, I found this great Naan recipe at Allrecipes.com. Click here to see it.
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons minced garlic (optional)
1/4 cup butter, melted
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes, until frothy. Stir in sugar, milk, egg, salt, and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes on a lightly floured surface, or until smooth. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside to rise. Let it rise 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in volume.
Punch down dough, and knead in garlic. Pinch off small handfuls of dough about the size of a golf ball. Roll into balls, and place on a tray. Cover with a towel, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
During the second rising, preheat grill to high heat.
At grill side, roll one ball of dough out into a thin circle. Lightly oil grill. Place dough on grill, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until puffy and lightly browned. Brush uncooked side with butter, and turn over. Brush cooked side with butter, and cook until browned, another 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from grill, and continue the process until all the naan has been prepared.
Today is the day that I am finally sitting down and getting started. I went to the library yesterday and picked up about 8 books and I intend to get into them today. I also saved many articles from Jstor that I need to read.
I guess I should begin by explaining a little bit about what my topic is and how I intend to go about it.
I will be discussing the relation between economic and political freedom, how they feed and affect each other. I will used the United States and China in the modern context as examples and case studies relating to my concept of economic and political freedom. I will also justify my reasoning for why I believe that maintaining freedom in economic and political realms is important and needs to be preserved. I believe in the idea that once economic freedom is lost, political and other freedoms will also follow suite. I believe that Socialism trades society’s supreme ideal of freedom for the hazy concept of “fairness”.
I think I'll be breaking my paper up into these chapters:
Introduction Political Freedom Economic Freedom The combination together & separate The American example The Chinese example Conclusions
The cartoon below actually depicts my life a bit right now. But I know I can get through this fine.
The very first day that Linnea flew into Prague it was so sunny and beautiful. She was so amazed at how gorgeous all the architecture was. I love seeing everyone's faces when they first get to see Prague. The pictures are one thing, but seeing it in person is quite another.
Castle view from Charles Bridge. I recently ran into this interesting bit of information: According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the Prague Castle is the largest coherent castle complex in the world, with an area of almost 70,000 m². The castle was founded way back around 880 by Prince Bořivoj of the Premyslid Dynasty and features many architectural styles, from Roman-style buildings from the 10th century through Gothic modifications in the 14th century.
One nice thing about Prague is that there's no worries when walking around with a bottle of beer. As you can see Linnea is taking advantage of being able to be on the go with some good Czech beer. The best thing though is during the spring and summer time when we go to the beer gardens or just walk around the park with some beer in our hands. It's finally getting to be nice weather here so I'm totally going to take advantage of heading to the park and relaxing in the sun with my beer. The only thing that will be missing is my sweet little pups that I had to leave behind in the States. :( Below we are on our way to Karlštejn Castle. I've already been there several times, David and I wanted to take our new friends (who David met on the plane ride from Frankfurt to Prague) and Linnea to see it. When we went it was pretty cold, but we survived and enjoyed the view. The castle was actually built by Czech King and Roman Emperor Charles IV in 1348 as a place for safekeeping of royal treasures like Charles’s collection of holy relics and the coronation jewels of the Roman Empire. The coronation jewels were kept there for almost 200 years during and after the Hussite wars in the 15th and 16th century. And for all the architecture buffs out there, the castle was originally built in the Gothic style and reconstructed in the Renaissance style in the 16th century. It owes its present look to the purist Neo-Gothic style designed by architect Josef Mocker at the end of the 19th century. One night we invited the new friends (Mira & Jeff) to our flat where we had them try a flaming shot of absinthe. Now when they go home they can show everyone their awesome pictures of the flaming shots. Below, as we're posing, Linnea is melting the sugar which she'll then drop into the absinthe shot. We were going to get the shots at our local bar the Růžák, but then decided it would be cheaper to just buy the bottle and take it back to our place. :) Now that Linnea is back in Paris I can look forward to showing my friend Jessica around. Jess is coming to Prague in May (so the weather should be really nice). Basically right when David and I get back from India, we will be welcoming her our amazing city. I can't wait!
It's been nice to be back in the States where I have my own car, am able to enjoy my hobbies and have normal American grocery stores. :) However I'm heading back to the homeland for another 4 months this Sunday the 27th. I'm pretty estatic that I have a good flight back, total duration of only 13 hours (YES!). No 20 hours like I'm used to... I only hope that I can sleep. I'll be arriving in Prague 2:40pm. I saved some crowns for the trip back to the apartment, so I don't need to have Pepa come get me... but I do need some kind of way to get inside since I didn't take the keys with me.
Everything is coming up so quickly! I only have like 4 days left. Aye! I need to start packing to see what I have and if I need anything to take back. I think I'll be making a trip to Walmart or Target to pick up any items I need this Saturday. I will not forget the tampons this time! Seriously I know it's strange that I bring this up, but one thing that hasn't made it's way to Czech yet is regular tampons with an applicator.
Alright I have to do this, I'm making a list of all the things I'm going to miss here in the good 'ol USA: 1. Friends & Family (duh) 2. Fresh Coastal Air 3. American grocery stores 4. Affordable clothing stores 5. My sewing machine 6. GOOD martinis 7. Brewed coffee with Coffeemate creamer 8. My car 9. Chipoltle Mexican Grill 10. Running route where nobody stares at you 11. Baking & cooking with American ingredients ;)
So today should be fun, Lindsay had a client at her salon so I got to tag along and after she's done with him I get the VIP treatment. I'm really excited for that. I guess I'll be doing a facial, pedicure, and a deep cleansing wash. Lindsay's little shop is pretty cute, very quaint and pretty much like any other nice salon shops.
So far the trip here has been really fun. We mostly just hang out and talk. We tried to go buy that Dance Central game for the Xbox 360 but Walmart didn't have it. I was excited for that because I'm pretty sure we would have danced for hours, so that was kinda a bummer.
So last night I decided to be a little crafty and make a cute little clutch. I actually tried really hard because I didn't want to mess up and have a half-assed clutch. I followed a tutorial from a thread on craftster.org. Check out the tutorial here. As you can see my experiment was a success! I was able to make it so it looks like a real clutch you could buy somewhere (although totally unique since there's no other one like it :D ). I think I'm going to make another bag today, but a bigger one... or maybe a skirt?? We'll see.
I'm so excited about taking a mini vacation from my vacation. Lol. I've always wanted to go see Lindsay in Colorado, however I haven't been able to get the time off during the summer. Now that I'm back I don't really have the constant work so I have plenty of time! The money part sucks but hey I know I wouldn't make it this next summer, so I gotta make things work now.
I'm so excited I get to see her! I think we'll have tons of fun just hanging out.
Fri 21-Jan-11 Portland(PDX) Depart 11:44 am
Denver(DEN) Arrive 3:07 pm
UA Flight: 6876 Operated by: /UNITED EXPRESS/SKYWEST AIRLINES-Duration: 2hr 23mn-
Returning: Sun 30-Jan-11 Denver(DEN) Depart 6:10 pm
Portland(PDX) Arrive 7:53 pm
The pictures are from the wedding, the last time time I got to see Lindsay.