The Daily – 8/30


Word of the Day: Culture

Notable / Highlight of the Day: Today included a giant snake, refugees, and some stuff I don’t even know how to describe. 


I didn’t have to wander the forests and mountains to find this snake though, he was a centerpiece at the national gallery of art. The gallery houses Czechia’s contemporary and modern art collections, and is housed in what was supposed to be a convention space. 


They do a really beautiful job curating and displaying the pieces. There was even temporary exhibits from Ai Wei Wei and Brian Eno. 


Ai Wei Wei’s installation on the refugee crisis was passionate and moving. His team went to a number of refugee camps interviewing refugees affected by the crisis. When the Idomeni, the Greek town at the Former Yogoslav exit point, refugee was evacuated and shuttered, Ai Wei Wei and his assistants went and collected articles of clothing that were left behind. 


They laundered and cleaned the items, included a newsfeed underneath and provided a writeup of the crisis. This was installed it next to his model of the refugee raft, to embody the strife these refugees have faced and their uncertain future in the EU. 


I also got to play with a light installation and check out some beautiful, and some unique pieces. 


I was more exausted than I realize though, I had gotten a tram pass to get around, and it was a blessing. I had lunch, walked over to the Spanish Synagog and tried to not be swallowed by the crowds, and then made my way to a park to sit down for a bit, drink some coffee, and watch some kids play in a fountain. 


I decided to head back to my room and change for the evening, and the next thing I knew Momo and I were napping!  


For dinner, I went to check out a pub called U Vystrelenyho Oka that was recommended somewhere. And it was so great. My goulash and beer were $5 and the atmosphere was all local. There was a great beergarden full of dogs and people outside, and a very old tavern inside that has likely seen some things. 

I wandered a bit more from there, and came back, hung out with my host for a bit, and went to bed. 

Current Location: Prague

Cost of Coffee: $2

Miles Traveled: 

Miles Walked: no idea

Dollars Spent Today: $39 – $6 for breakfast, $10 for the museum, $5 on a tram pass, $4 for lunch, $4 for a trdelnik, $5 on coffee and water (tourist trap) $5 on dinner. 

Total Dollars Spent: $5660

Number of Dogs Seen / Dog of the Day: this little one who got all the scritches at the tavern. 


Mood Emoji: πŸ–ΌπŸΊ

Food/Beverage Highlights: U Vystrelenyho Oka

The Daily – 8/29


Word of the Day: Yogaaaah

Notable / Highlight of the Day: Slow down was the motto of the day! I woke up early and headed out to a cute cafe I had spotted the day before. I spent the morning reading and writing, and drinking (probably) too much cappuccino. 


From there, I headed over to a little park to hang out some more and watch people play with their dogs and their kids. This city has a surprising amount of chubby-cheeked little ones in it. 


I walked around a bit more and checked out the Lennon wall and the very busy Charles Bridge. I had to hustle a bit though, because I had booked myself a standup paddleboard yoga lesson. I got back to the apartment, changed quickly and headed back down to the river. 


My very tan and statuesque instructor Lucka, along with a professor from germany and I went out on the river for about two hours. As I have never been paddleboarding, and am not the best at yoga, I fully anticipated ending up in the river. But luckily that didn’t happen and it was such a great experience!  Lucka was so sweet and charming, and she was a great instructor, even with English being her 2nd language. 

(Picture is pending, still waiting for shots from the instructor!)

I ended my evening by meeting up with someone and watching the dancing fountains. It was pretty and unusual and a bit out of the way. He wanted to tell me all about himself first and then started asking questions that became too intrusive. I quickly ended the evening, picked up some wine for my AirBnB host, snuggled with Momo, and then went to bed exausted.  


Current Location: Prague

Cost of Coffee: $5 (2 cups, basically renting my breakfast table)

Miles Traveled: 0

Miles Walked: no idea

Dollars Spent Today: $80 – $12 on breakfast, $10 on lunch, $40 on yoga SUP, $10 on dancing fountain tickets, $8 on uber rides. 

Total Dollars Spent: $5621

Number of Dogs Seen / Dog of the Day: Momo the the best…just look at this face!

People Met: Ali…πŸ™„

Mood Emoji: β˜•οΈβ˜•οΈπŸ“πŸ“šπŸ„β€β™€οΈπŸŽ«

The Daily – 8/28


Word of the Day: Oversaturated 

Notable / Highlight of the Day: I had a late start to my day, putting away laundry, eating granola, and snuggling with Momo. I woke up late, because I had an odd nightmare and was up for Three hours in the middle of the night…and Momo was nowhere to be found for snuggles. 


I wandered down the river to the Staropramen brewery for a tour and get a bit outside the city center and see what the city looked like outside the historic district. Along the way I stopped at this unbelievably cute cafe at the edge of a park. The structure was beautiful and several dogs came and went! While enjoying mycappuccino my overzealous, fake Italian boyfriend reached out pretty agressively, I had to block him on WhatsApp because he was so offensive (and safely back in Rome). 


The Staropramen tour itself was interesting in an odd way. It was well done but completely automated. I wanted to hit fast forward as some of it was just spoken so slowly. I was joined by two older German men who clearly felt the same way I did. It was interesting learning about their beermaking technique, which is a bit different than some other beers as they warm the hopwart twice and process everything a bit differently through the four vats. 

I enjoyed 1/2 a beer while catching up on news and chatting with a few people. From there, I heading up to Petrin and checked out the castle walls and views of the city. 


I sat in the park for a bit and then headed over to the Prague castle to wander for a few hours. Pretty much, if there’s a highpoint in a city, I’ll find it and climb it. 


I realized, I was a bit over-saturated in my touring and nothing was really sticking. I had tried to connect with a few people through couchsurfing, but was not really feeling any of them. 


I hung out in a park and had a cheap and tasty keilbasa while watching a soccer club practice and then enjoy a few pints and vowed to take it easy tomorrow. 


I went back and hung out with Momo for a while and hoped Frankisek would come out of hiding (he didn’t). 


Current Location: Prague, Czechia

Cost of Coffee: 2

Miles Traveled: 0

Miles Walked: 5-6

Dollars Spent Today: $41 – $2 on coffee, $18 on a huge lunch, $9 on the Staropramen tour, $7 on dinner. $5 on cab ride

Total Dollars Spent: $5541

Number of Dogs Seen / Dog of the Day: Momo, the best AirBnB roommate ever. 

Mood Emoji: 😺

The Daily – 8/27


Word of the Day: Breezy

Notable / Highlight of the Day: We had a sleepy, early ride to the airport. Since Allison and Sean’s flight was only an hour before mine, we all decided to split a cab to the airport. 


W

Once we got to the airport, we all wished each other well and then I breezed through checkin and securit. I didn’t even have any issues with my soap for once! With three+ hours to kill, I sat at a cafe listening to music, reading, writing some tips for someone on Barcelona, and working on a blog post. 


My flight was uneventful and landed nearly 45 minutes early. Since it was considered a domestic flight, there was no customs, and no passport stamps again. I took some money out at the airport and realized I had no idea what The exchange rate was…I took nearly $600 out for the 6 days I’m here 😣. 

​​
I took a cab to my airbnb and settled in quicky. As I was nearly out of clean clothes I ran to the store to get some laundry detergent and snacks and did two loads of laundry. Everything in Prague, and Europe generally seems smaller, from the cars to the washing machines and detergent containers (though not the castles!!!) No wonder Americans seem wasteful, we have so much space to store stuff. 


With nearly all my clothes either soaking wet or in the wash, I ran out to have some dinner in an odd outfit. I didn’t realize how close my airbnb was to so many sites, I was less than a block from Wenceslas square. As I looked for a good place to eat dinner, I wandered a good chunk of the old town and even saw the astronomical clock doing it’s thing. If you’re there, it’s pretty neat to see in action considering the engineering that went into it more than 600 years ago. 

Here’s a picture of the clock from the internet

I was pretty tired though, and needed to do some research on what, if anything I wanted to see while here. So I went back after a hearty dinner (and struggling to remember the conversion rates), and studied the Prague tourist map a little longer. 

Current Location: Rome, Italy to Prague, Czechia

Cost of Coffee: $5 (two cups)

Miles Traveled: 800 miles

Miles Walked: 3-4

Dollars Spent Today: $85 – $20 on a cab ride to rome airport, $25 on a cab ride into prague, $20 on dinner, $20 on groceries 

Total Dollars Spent: $5500

Number of Dogs Seen / Dog of the Day: Frankistek, the handsome little house dog at my AirBnB!


Mood Emoji: πŸš–πŸ›«πŸ’ΊπŸ›¬πŸš–

The Daily – 8/26


Word of the Day: (Arent) Foxy

Notable / Highlight of the Day: I was headed down to Rome for a day to catch a flight to Prague!  Fortunately for me, my friend and former colleague Allison was in the city for a few days on vacation and we made plans to hang out!


 I still very much feel part of the firm, even though I haven’t been working there for a few months. It was so nice getting to spend some time with friendly faces. They’re such a fun and charming couple and I was likely in need of socializing as Cinque Terre was not at all a hotbed of lone travelers. 


I dropped luggage off in the restaurant owned by my Airbnb host and grabbed a glass of wine and foccacia while waiting to meet up with Allison and Sean and to check in. Somehow, I very quickly gained an amorous boyfriend in the manager. He was pretty excited to get to know me…though sadly, I was not having reciprocal feelings. 


With my luggage tucked away and something in my belly, I said ciao to my new boyfriend and headed over to have lunch with Allison and Sean. We had some pizza, cheese, and more foccacia while catching up on DC, their trip, and what I’d been up to. I also convinced them to come check into my airbnb with me. 


And the good sports they were, we headed down to check out the Capuchin Crypt which my mother has asked me to visit every time I’ve been to Rome. We sauntered over while checking out the city and ruins that happen to sit amongst piazzas and busy intersections. 


As a holy place, the Capuchin Crypt requires you to cover your shoulders and legs, so Allison and I got to wear really trendy paper gowns around while checking out some interesting and odd displays. 

After the museum you enter crypt which contains the remains of 4,000 Capuchin monks (yes, you read that correctly). The ceilings and walls are covered with bones and skeletons. (Also, you’re not supposed to take pictures) The ceiling is done in intricate patterns and they even have a number of full skeletons displayed in various positions.  It was fascitating but also unsettling. How did they get all the skeletons? Is it an honor to be entombed there? Why did people snag bits off the wall? Who conceptualized this place? Are they still actively decorating? I probably could have done some research…and maybe someday I will!    


From there we checked out the Spanish Steps which were only a couple blocks away from the crypt. We split off for a few hours to shower, nap, and get ready for dinner. And met back up in their neighborhood to eat all of the carbs. We quickly found a place and ordered family style. 


We ended the night with gelato and beers. The beer place, Bir & Fud, must have had 30 taps but we all got tasty selections. It was a great end to a fun day. 


Final note: If I haven’t said it yet, god bless noise-cancelling headphones. My train seat on the way to Rome was completely surrounded by some pretty rowdy kids that I barely noticed since I couldn’t hear them very well. They’re a must for travel. 
Current Location: Vernazza to Rome, Italy. 

Cost of Coffee: $2 

Miles Traveled: 300 miles

Miles Walked: 3-4

Dollars Spent Today: $64 – $2 on coffee, $30 on lunch, $22 on beers, and $10 on gelato. 

Total Dollars Spent: $5415

People Met: hung out with Allison and Sean! My Italian boyfriend, Giorgio

Mood Emoji: πŸ€—πŸ»

Food/Beverage Highlights: Bir & Fud (Thanks Paul!)

The Daily – 8/25


Word of the Day: Bonus

Notable / Highlight of the Day: My bonus day! I was glad to have another day in Cinque Terre. I really wanted to get a bit of hiking in. I didn’t appreciate how good it made me feel physically and mentally until it was no longer in the daily rotation. Also, I really enjoy listening to the Italian language and stumbling over the pronounciations, the words are so musical and playful to say. 


I first hiked down to Corniglia, the smallest town in the chain of five. It took about 45 minutes from Vernazza. I wandered around the town for a bit while rehydrating. The town is the only one without ocean access but has a really cute and shady town square complete with a creepy, zombie-like statue. I think it’s just the elements that has made it look so bad. The town also seems to be the one least afflicted by tourists, but maybe it only felt that way because of the time. 


The trails are well-travelled and have a good amount of elevation change. In some parts, the trails are barely wide enough for one person. The stone is worn smooth and I’d hate to be stuck out there in a rain storm. They also boast thousands of stairs….and a lot of people who don’t hike often and move like cattle.


From there I took the train up to Monterosso, which is the largest of the five villages and feels the least like the others. It’s much flatter, has a decent-sized beach, and lots more retail and restaurants. I grabbed a really tasty lunch of vegetable tart and lemon cake. I read for a while while watching all the very tan and fit Europeans stroll by. 


I had a very hot and sweaty hike back to Vernazza which took about an hour. I neglected to bring water along and was too cheap to stop at the three stands people had set up along the way. I bumped into a couple who were backpacking the trail who were making slow progress. I hadn’t seen any camping spots, but had seen a few people in the towns with gear. I’m curious if these trails link up with the pilgrim’s trail. 


That evening after my shower and phone calls I struggled a little bit trying to ignore some feelings that were bubbling up. I realized I needed to just recognize them, let them have their moment, and then let go. Max also helped me via text from Ally by picking out some great emojis to cheer me up. He’s probably the most brilliant 3-year-old. 


I’ve also been binge-watching an unhealthy amount of Modern Family. I can’t seem to stop, hopefully Rome will cure me! 


Current Location: Vernazza, to Corniglia, to Monterosso, and back. 

Cost of Coffee: $3

Miles Traveled: 8

Miles Walked: 5-6

Dollars Spent Today: $49 – $6 on breakfast, $18 on lunch, $12 on dinner, $4 on breakfast for tomorrow morning’s train ride, and $9 on my park trails pass. 

Total Dollars Spent: $5351

Number of Dogs Seen / Dog of the Day: these kitties are gelato devotees. I enjoyed watching them immensely as they watched everyone petted them while waiting in line for gelato. 


Mood Emoji: πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜…πŸ“žπŸ˜£πŸ“Ί

The Daily – 8/24

Word of the Day: Stairs

Notable / Highlight of the Day: I thought I only had a day to explore so I decided to use the ferry to head down to Riomaggiore and Manarola. It was so great being on the water and feeling the sea breeze. 


Although at the end of the day after talking with Allison F. about meeting up, I realized I had one more day in Cinque Terre than I realized.


My eye was still a little swollen, even with the drops the pharmacist had given me, but it was no longer itchy and red. I wandered around the two little cities all afternoon. I sat on some steps people-watching and writing a few postcards.  


What I love about Europe is seeing what has lasted through history. Buildings, sidewalks, statues that have stood the test of time layered with newer development. Buildings that have made it through the ‘this looks dated and old’ to the point of ‘we can’t take this down, it’s still good and has been here for hundreds of years.’ I always wonder, did the best make it through or just the properties that didn’t get sold or damaged? It’s always fun thinking about what the ancient city must have looked like. But you bon’t have to imagine too hard in Cinqueterre, it feels nearly untouched. 


While here, I also can’t help but be reminded of the romance.  Couples kissing and holding hands in front of ancient and pastel collored walls. I also couldn’t seem to escape the throngs of tourists and kissing couples. I dodged down lots of little alleys and climbed what felt like 8,000 stairs, pretty sure all uphill.


At one point as I was wandering twisty walkways, I climbed a wall and snuck into a detached, abandoned-looking garden that had a beautiful spray of purple flowers and also happened to have a great view of Manarola (it’s the one a few pictures up).

 

After a nice, and cheap lunch, I came back to Vernazza to take another quick shower, apply some eye drops, and change out of my sweaty clothes. 


I grabbed my computer and headed back up to my little hidden gem on the hill and sat with a campari and soda while watching the sunset. Also, no visit to this area is complete without some pesto pasta. I also met a really charming couple from the US, Julia and Alex who were taking full advantage of a work trip he was on by tacking on a few extra days in this hilly little paradise. 


Current Location: Vernazza, Manarola, and Riomagiorre Italy

Cost of Coffee: $3

Miles Traveled: 20 miles

Miles Walked: 4ish

Dollars Spent Today: $69 – $10 on breakfast, $6 on lunch, $25 on dinner $5 on postcards and stamps, $18 on ferry tickets, $5 on train tickets

Total Dollars Spent: $5302

Number of Dogs Seen / Dog of the Day: so many dogs, like this one doing some gift shopping:


Or this one waiting for a gelato:


Mood Emoji: πŸ•Ά(to cover my eye)