The Monday after Jindrichuv Hradec, there was no school, so my family and I took a trip to Ostrava for the evening, where I hung out with my friend Brian, from Wisconsin, and they had dinner with an old friend. Afterwards, we headed out to the Ranch to spend the night at babicka's house in Stramberk. It was nothing too special, but Ondrej's parents are very nice, and not in the best of health, so we tend to go up there as much as possible. Afterwards we visited the famous Stramberk tower at the top of the city, everyone else had already seen it before, but I had a good time :P after the tower, we bought some famous ear cookies, and headed home.
The following weekend, we went to Ondrej's brother’s house. The only think anyone said previous to our departure was "do you like pig?” As it turned out, this was a weekend devoted to eating, and preparing an entire pig. after the first wave of repulsion passed, it was actually really fascinating. I had no idea that pretty much every single part of the animal was made into something. My favorite part was filling small portions of the small intestine with ground up pig to make normal sausage and blood sausage. They really did let me help with the ENTIRE process... it was so cool! (although, I’m afraid this might have helped my opinion of meat :P) unfortunately my hands were kind of dirty so I couldn't take pictures, but everyone else did, so hopefully I’ll get copies :)
i was also really surprised at how much everyone liked the dead pig. We even took pictures with it on the meat hooks, and had the kids pet it and shake its hooves!
the following friday was the final ball for my dance class, lots of fun getting dressed up and showing off what we had learned :P
The weekend after, we drove my host sister, Hanka, back home to Prague. We spent one night and one day in the city, and it was beautiful! I took pictures, but unfortunately misplaced my wallet, so I couldn't buy anything :/ we ate at a super cool Indian restaurant, saw the Christmas market, visited the horse, spent the night in Hanka's apartment, had STARBUCKS coffee the next morning (:D), visited the Jewish district and Paris street, saw a really cool guy playing a recorder with his nose, then had to head home.
That Wednesday after school, my Dina, her parents, her grandma, a church friend, my host parents, my host moms nurse, and I all fit ourselves into one 9 person van and went to Vienna for the evening to see an impressionisms art exhibit and the Vienna Christmas market. It was some spectacular art (some privately owned) that I was told may never be displayed in another exhibit.On our way out of the art exhibit some one saw a strech hummer, everyone got excited and ran to look, it was hillarious :) we had some hash brown things, roasted chestnuts, hot wine/cider and i had chocolate covered strawberries... deeeelicious! then, we piled back in the car and back to CZ.
Another beautiful city, I only wish I could have spent more than 5 hours there :P
Friday afternoon I took the train to Ostrava, where I met Brian again. His rotary club had planned a bus trip to Budapest and Bratislava and he managed to get the ok for me to come along. That night I slept at his host parents house and the next morning at 5 we boarded the big purple pokka dotted bus. It was an awesome weekend with Brain, Kate, Christmas markets, and a copious supply of Becherovka. Unfortunately, it was a very foggy weekend, but we still got to see quite a bit. Budapest was beautiful, we were taken up to Catadella (at the top of Budapest) and showed around by a true native, coincidently also a rebound :) And last but not least, I spent my first night in a European hotel, and may I say, there are some significant differences. Sunday was spent in Bratislava, it was not quite as visually appealing as Budapest was, but still had a very nice market, and even better coffee :P That evening for dinner we went to a famous goose restaurant. it was the kind of place where you could only order the meat in units of whole geese, and as a gift at the end of the meal, they gave you the bones to take home to make soup with. The food was delicious, and we enjoyed goose soup the following Wednesday.
That Friday, I had the ball for my second dance class. Afterwards, I came home, slept for a couple hours, then hopped in the car to go to Italy for a week of skiing with my parents, some other doctors' families and Dina.
Besides the fact that is turns out I didn’t know as much about skiing as I thought I did, the week was really great. The Alps were spectacular, I couldn’t believe I was ACTUALLY there...
The little town our hotel/apartment was in was having a Bethlehem exhibit throughout the whole city, so we went out to see that almost every night.
The "around the mountain" ski day I had been told so much about, was unfortunately a little beyond my capability level. So instead of circling the mountain with my family, I hung out on the bunny slopes with two women who were more the relax and have fun type :) but I still got some gorgeous pictures!
1: In a hotel room, before it it possible to use electricity, you must first insert your door key card to a slot by the door... without this card in place, no lights will turn on :P
2: (one people probably already know) all cars are manual , I have seen one automatic shift car, and im almost sure it was a special import.
3: TV shows don't air on the hour and half hour. Because most TV stations cut out either most or all commercials during shows, they are not a half hour or hour long. It’s fairly normal to watch a show at 15:05 or 18:50. For example Kriminalka Las Vegas (CSI Las Vegas) airs Thursday at 21:35 :P