Monthly Archives: May 2009

Exam Time

It feels like it’s back to exam time. My whole life at my MBA school seems to be filled with either of the following: group meetings, individual assignments, classes and exams. No time to talk to friends back home, no time to get to know new friends, no time to sit with a good book and relax and absolutely no time to search for a job. 

 

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Day 7: Prague and Fonty

Went to Praha Castle today. It is basically a modern castle with one old quarter in the Gothic style. Nothing impressive. It was on top of a hill and the view of Praha from there was magnificent! After that I
had the intention of walking back to the hostel to collect my luggage and head to the airport. As luck would have it, I got lost and landed in one sector where I had no intention of going. Its called Mala Singha and is the old quarter. Very quaint looking. Gives the impression of old ladies tending to their garden 🙂

After a short lunch, headed of to the airport. The airport is 20km away from Praha outskirts so you can guess how long it took. It was literally in the middle of no-where! But we passed very scenic routes.
That’s all I did. Then it was fonty time.

Reaching the airport, I realised how exhausted I am. Dead tired. Came back home and realised I had forgotten to put the thosa batter I prepared before leaving in the fridge. The end result is that my
batter is filled with fungus. Put all the clothes to wash and now am eating dinner before I crash.

Crashing reminds me. My dorm in Praha was a 10 bed mixed one and all beds were taken up. There were 4 girls, including myself, and 6 guys. And god do the guys snore! Is it that they were really loud or that I
got too used to fonty quietness?

Anyway, not uploading pics today. Too lazy 😛 Will do so tomo 🙂

Day 7 – Prague and Fonty

Hola!

Went to Praha Castle today. It is basically a modern castle with one old quarter in the Gothic style. Nothing impressive. It was on top of a hill and the view of Praha from there was magnificent! After that I had the intention of walking back to the hostel to collect my luggage and head to the airport. As luck would have it, I got lost and landed in one sector where I had no intention of going. Its called Mala Singha and is the old quarter. Very quaint looking. Gives the impression of old ladies tending to their garden 🙂

After a short lunch, headed of to the airport. The airport is 20km away from Praha outskirts so you can guess how long it took. It was literally in the middle of no-where! But we passed very scenic routes. That’s all I did. Then it was fonty time.

Reaching the airport, I realised how exhausted I am. Dead tired. Came back home and realised I had forgotten to put the thosa batter I prepared before leaving in the fridge. The end result is that my batter is filled with fungus. Put all the clothes to wash and now am eating dinner before I crash.

Crashing reminds me. My dorm in Praha was a 10 bed mixed one and all beds were taken up. There were 4 girls, including myself, and 6 guys. And god do the guys snore! Is it that they were really loud or that I
got too used to fonty quietness?

Day 6: Prague

Hola!! (or Dobrý den in Czech)

I managed to learn a bit of Spanish and even German a little when I went to those respective places by Checksey beats me. They are pretty difficult to pronounce. Anyway, went to Kutna Hora today. Here is some background. Kutna Hora is a town which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The town is infamous for its bone church. Now, every christian cemetery is accompanied by a church. Once the cemetery grounds get filled, they dig up the old bones and put it in a place called ossuary. Its something like storing urns for Buddhists. Anyway, this cemetery got famous coz someone brought the earth from gordola (dunno what that is, need to look up) and sprinkled it over the cemetery grounds. Thus even the ossuary got filled up.

So a gruesome task was given to the caretaker. Take the bones from the ossuary and do something with it. He then decorated the church with the bones. The main chandelier of the church is made up of every bone
of the human body. It was very eerie being there. Though the church is small and there were a lot of people, it was the first time I was seeing human bones in person and seeing them used as decorative pieces
gave shudders. Apparently boroque architecture of churches are famous for this kind of macabre decorations but this church is Kutna Hora became famous. Beware when seeing the pictures: they may be
disturbing.

Went to the main town square after that, its a holiday here so most of the shops were closed but the place is quite rustic. Then went to the town cathedral called St. Barbara’s cathedral, which is nothing great, simple huge building with an altar and some pictures. I was thinking when inside the church, after Sevilla, none of the other churches are going to impress me, maybe should visit the Sistine chapel in Vatican.

Anyway, after lunch (pasta and hot chocolate), went to the most interesting part. I visited a silver mine. This is a mine which is working even today and we actually got to go 30 m below ground and actually see real life mining. The tunnels are soooo narrow its amazing these mining men are so huge. How on earth do they pass through? On a side note, every lady in the group (its a guided tour only for obvious reasons, its a working mine and dangerous) had to go sideways, except for yours truly (danke for the applause). I could go
straight without any trouble. But it was narrow and low, at some places, I had to bend double. We also had to wear white coats (I think this is so that the guide can find us easily if we get lost, white being reflective), then mining hats. We were also given torches which were damn heavy. So I carried my bag (with computer, 1 litre of water etc), coat in one hand and camera in another. The catch with this tour is that the English tour was filled and the lady gave me a choice of going on some other language tour and she will give me an English text. So I also had the English text.

There were two tour groups at the same time, German and Russian. The Russian guide was an ex-miner so I joined that group. He was giving lots of secrets and information only miners with on-the-job training would know. Unfortunately, I did not know Russian and he did not speak English so lost out on the information. But the whole tour was good. The mine floor was slippery but was wooden and so was the ceiling. The
water in the mine (water is flushed in for various purposes including washing the walls etc) has a very high arsenic content due to the mining and thus not to be even touched.

The mining ended at 4 and I decided to make my way back as I did not know the last time and had seen everything Kutna Hora offers anyway. I thought there would be enough time to catch some of the other lookout points available to see Praha by evening since night is not something I was planning to do. Anyway, halfway through a funny thing happened, my left shoe soles came off!!! And there was no warning!!! I could not help laughing! Everyone passing me was staring at this weird girl laughing to herself with a sole in her hand.:D:D Luckily there was a supermarket nearby and I bought some bananas, apples, milk for breakfast tomo and superglue.

I thought it would still be OK to walk to the lookout point as the show base was quite strong. Unfortunately my leg started aching so I just headed home after the train ride. Well in the train I met yet another person 🙂 This girl is from Korea and she is majoring in Checksey! She wants to be a translator and is on a exchange trip here to Charles university. She will be leaving in September back to Korea and finish her studies.

One the way back to the hostel decided to stop buy the hostel’s recommended eatery and eat an authentic czech vegetarian food which I had previously asked the receptionist about. It is called Smazeny syt + hranolby (bramborg). This is what the receptionist wrote for me on a piece of paper which I just showed. It’s basically fried cheese.

The food was good, it came with fries and some salad but huge as usual. This time misa was wiser and left some off, instead of forcing myself to finish. It was pure cheese that too. What they had done (as far as I could discern) was bonda but with cheese instead of some vegetables. So the cheese is coated with batter and deep fried.

Then I headed back to hostel and now am mailing. Its only 8 now but I don’t think I will head out. I have seen the neighbourhood and any other place I go will land me back at 11 or later. So I guess I’ll
just have a shower and fix the shoes.

Tomorrow I am going to visit the Praha castle, shoes or no shoes :). Then head back to hostel and airport. The trip has been fun. I was very apprehensive about traveling all alone, having never done that before. But it turned out quite well. I think the important thing is to choose a good hostel and of course be back before nightfall, no matter what. Adhere to these two in addition to just keeping an eye open for funny stuff going on (eg. one of the underpass tunnels on the river always has  two big people with a lot of tattoos giving a weird feeling. They may be harmless but no harm done avoiding the underpass and taking a longer route). All is fine then.

Will check-out before leaving for Praha Castle tomo. I need to check the flight schedule to make sure it is feasible, if not I may ditch that also. Will let you know tomo.

Will upload the pictures now and take care with the spelling 😛

Day 6 – Prague

Hola!! (or Dobrý den in Czech)

I managed to learn a bit of Spanish and even German a little when I went to those respective places by Checksey beats me. They are pretty difficult to pronounce. Anyway, went to Kutna Hora today. Here is some background. Kutna Hora is a town which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The town is infamous for its bone church. Now, every christian cemetery is accompanied by a church. Once the cemetery grounds get filled, they dig up the old bones and put it in a place called ossuary. Its something like storing urns for Buddhists. Anyway, this cemetery got famous coz someone brought the earth from gordola (dunno what that is, need to look up) and sprinkled it over the cemetery grounds. Thus even the ossuary got filled up.

So a gruesome task was given to the caretaker. Take the bones from the ossuary and do something with it. He then decorated the church with the bones. The main chandelier of the church is made up of every bone
of the human body. It was very eerie being there. Though the church is small and there were a lot of people, it was the first time I was seeing human bones in person and seeing them used as decorative pieces gave shudders. Apparently boroque architecture of churches are famous for this kind of macabre decorations but this church is Kutna Hora became famous. Beware when seeing the pictures: they may be disturbing.

Went to the main town square after that, its a holiday here so most of the shops were closed but the place is quite rustic. Then went to the town cathedral called St. Barbara’s cathedral, which is nothing great, simple huge building with an altar and some pictures. I was thinking when inside the church, after Sevilla, none of the other churches are going to impress me, maybe should visit the Sistine chapel in Vatican.

Anyway, after lunch (pasta and hot chocolate), went to the most interesting part. I visited a silver mine. This is a mine which is working even today and we actually got to go 30 m below ground and actually see real life mining. The tunnels are soooo narrow its amazing these mining men are so huge. How on earth do they pass through? On a side note, every lady in the group (its a guided tour only for obvious reasons, its a working mine and dangerous) had to go sideways, except for yours truly (danke for the applause). I could go
straight without any trouble. But it was narrow and low, at some places, I had to bend double. We also had to wear white coats (I think this is so that the guide can find us easily if we get lost, white being reflective), then mining hats. We were also given torches which were damn heavy. So I carried my bag (with computer, 1 litre of water etc), coat in one hand and camera in another. The catch with this tour is that the English tour was filled and the lady gave me a choice of going on some other language tour and she will give me an English text. So I also had the English text.

There were two tour groups at the same time, German and Russian. The Russian guide was an ex-miner so I joined that group. He was giving lots of secrets and information only miners with on-the-job training would know. Unfortunately, I did not know Russian and he did not speak English so lost out on the information. But the whole tour was good. The mine floor was slippery but was wooden and so was the ceiling. The water in the mine (water is flushed in for various purposes including washing the walls etc) has a very high arsenic content due to the mining and thus not to be even touched.

The mining ended at 4 and I decided to make my way back as I did not know the last time and had seen everything Kutna Hora offers anyway. I thought there would be enough time to catch some of the other lookout points available to see Praha by evening since night is not something I was planning to do. Anyway, halfway through a funny thing happened, my left shoe soles came off!!! And there was no warning!!! I could not help laughing! Everyone passing me was staring at this weird girl laughing to herself with a sole in her hand.:D:D Luckily there was a supermarket nearby and I bought some bananas, apples, milk for breakfast tomo and superglue.

I thought it would still be OK to walk to the lookout point as the show base was quite strong. Unfortunately my leg started aching so I just headed home after the train ride. Well in the train I met yet another person 🙂 This girl is from Korea and she is majoring in Checksey! She wants to be a translator and is on a exchange trip here to Charles university. She will be leaving in September back to Korea and finish her studies.

One the way back to the hostel decided to stop buy the hostel’s recommended eatery and eat an authentic czech vegetarian food which I had previously asked the receptionist about. It is called Smazeny syt+ hranolby (bramborg). This is what the receptionist wrote for me on a piece of paper which I just showed. It’s basically fried cheese.

The food was good, it came with fries and some salad but huge as usual. This time misa was wiser and left some off, instead of forcing myself to finish. It was pure cheese that too. What they had done (as far as I could discern) was bonda but with cheese instead of some vegetables. So the cheese is coated with batter and deep fried.

Then I headed back to hostel and now am mailing. Its only 8 now but I don’t think I will head out. I have seen the neighbourhood and any other place I go will land me back at 11 or later. So I guess I’ll just have a shower and fix the shoes.

Tomorrow I am going to visit the Praha castle, shoes or no shoes :). Then head back to hostel and airport. The trip has been fun. I was very apprehensive about traveling all alone, having never done that before. But it turned out quite well. I think the important thing is to choose a good hostel and of course be back before nightfall, no matter what. Adhere to these two in addition to just keeping an eye open for funny stuff going on (eg. one of the underpass tunnels on the river always has two big people with a lot of tattoos giving a weird feeling. They may be harmless but no harm done avoiding the underpass and taking a longer route). All is fine then.

Will check-out before leaving for Praha Castle tomo. I need to check the flight schedule to make sure it is feasible, if not I may ditch that also. Will let you know tomo.

Day 5 Evening: Prague

Reached Prague around 2 hours late. The bus ride was comfortable though. First bus I have taken where they gave headphones like in the plain and free flow servings of coffee/tea/hot chocolate. Passed a place called Bruno, which is also in Cheksey. It looked like quite a big town.
Reached hotel around 2. Its a nice hotel, situated in a residential area. Before I explain what I did around Praha (the chesky name for Prague), let me name the locations:
There is Charles Bridge (a bridge), Letenske Sady (a hill with numerous lookout points) kurlov most ( a small man made ‘waterfall’ near the bridge, its supposed to be famous but dunno for what), Old town square, Stare Mestro, Wensleslas Square.
Well, decided to walk though the hostel is a bit far from the city center. I think walking gives the best feel of the city. First went to Letenske Sady, then Charles bridge then the rest one by one.
Prague is quite nice, I realise the various countries are in the following categories: Barcelona and  London the cosmopolitian city, Paris the old-trying-to-be-new city, Sevilla and Vienna the grand old dame, regal and elegant, Madrid and Prague the blooming girl, chirpy and cheerful.
Prague is nice, its compact but with the same number of people, so its crowded and very lively. Its just full of life, no wonder people like it so much. The people are most helpful. More than once people have come to be when they see me even opening the map and helped me out with directions. Twice, the ladies actually accompanied me to the place I wanted to go to coz they found it difficult to explain. In the train, when I asked one person if this is the right direction and she answered softly, invariably the rest would come up to me and ask me if I got my query answered. The tram driver waited patiently until I looked up the station board, then went to the front of the tram to look up the tram’s no and climb in. Apparently, he was the same uncle whose Tram I took in the morning to the hostel and figured I looked too nice a girl to go anywhere but home at 9 in the night. (Thanke for the applause again!)
Food here is pizza, pasta or various asian cuisines. Falafel, my faithful food so far, is not very common in Praha. I have not found many falafel stalls. But there are significant asian stalls. I had thai food in the evening. Met another girl in the restaurant. Apparently she works for the Associate for International Research, a prvate ocmpany which does cost-of-living research for expats. They have clients all over the place as any company which wants to find the appropriate renumeration package turn to them for research data. She was having dinner alone too and we just joined up. Had a good conversation with her.
That’s it. I need to go to two more place,Kutna Hora (bone church) and the Praha Castle. Kutna Hora is another town 1 hour drive away, which is not feasible on Saturday, when I am leaving. So am going there tomorrow and then visit the Praha Castle on Saturday before coming back.