Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Looking for Adventure

Back in the early months of 2008, when we were initially planning this European vacation, we knew we would stay in Prague with Andy's parents, and that we would try to travel as much as possible. We also knew that we would plan on visiting Paris for sure, because Andy had never been there and wanted to go, and although I had been there, wanted to experience it with him. We also had discussed for years the possibility of going to Italy, and we decided that we would go to Venice because, well, why not? It's Venice, and I think it's different from anywhere in the world.

We also had thought about doing a Rome/Florence trip, after the summer. However, once we returned to Prague from our 2 weeks in Paris and Venice (as well as our brief trip to Krakow earlier in the summer), we were happy to be grounded for a while, and also sick of dealing with groups of tourists. We decided we would wait before planning another vacation. We also were a little concerned with money, particularly because we weren't working, and the dollar was not doing well compared to the Euro. We eventually decided that we just didn't want to go to Rome and Florence and fight our way through more crowds, etc. We'll save that for the future, we decided.

That's been all well and good. We've been home, here in Prague, since August, and have had other things to focus on. My dear friends Heather and Crystal came to visit for a week in September, and we had a blast. After they left, we had the whole visa drama to worry about. Throughout all these excitements, we have been going into the city of Prague and exploring, becoming familiar with different neighborhoods, local restaurants and jazz and blues clubs (the music scene is great here) and just getting into the life here. I am feeling very comfortable here and very much at home.

We have also officially experienced the season change... when we arrived the summer days were hot (the evenings cool, as usual), when September came it began to cool down, and now that we are wrapping up October, we awake to grey days, rainy and cool, even cold, weather. I am wearing my wool jacket and have taken out my scarf. It's nasty!

Of course, being an American, my mind is on Halloween this week. I love Halloween, and will miss it this year. The Czechs don't celebrate Halloween, traditionally, though there are some decorations in the larger stores, and it seems like some towns are trying to get some festivities together. A couple bars or pubs in Prague have parties for Americans (and British? Do they celebrate Halloween?). But, it's not the same. So, I'll be at Blues Sklep on Friday night, a great place to hear live blues. BUT, because it is Halloween, I am getting into a holiday mood. I am looking forward to Thanksgiving, which we WILL be celebrating, probably at Jama, a pub featuring American food, that apparently does an American Thanksgiving celebration (while airing American football on the tv).

I also can't help but look forward to Christmas. It's almost a relief to see that the stores here, particularly Tesco, have begun displaying their Christmas wares just as early as stores in America. Now I know America is not alone in it's commercializing and capitalizing off the holiday! More than anything else, I have been VERY impressed by the Advent calendars here in the Czech Republic... I am used to the simple rectangular ones with the solid milk chocolates - you know what I mean - but HERE... well, they come in different shapes and sizes (see above), and some have fancy assorted chocolates. It's a Christmas-celebrating chocolate-lover's dream.

What has coincided with me catching this year's holiday-bug is Andy and I deciding that we would like to go on a little trip. After researching destinations and considering a variety of locations, including Salzburg, Austria (sadly, the bus company we'll be taking doesn't go there), we have just booked a trip for early December to Nuremberg, Germany!

This is great, because I've only been to Germany once, a day in Dresden, years ago, and we wanted to go again, considering we are right next to it. This is also very very exciting because in our research we discovered that Nuremberg has this wonderful Christkindlesmarkt, or Christmas Market! Oh boy, are we thrilled!
I can't imagine a better place to go to get even more into the holiday spirit.

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