Outtakes (1st edition)

I had one of my Instagram followers say, “Wow! Your life is so perfect! How lucky you are to travel!” and to be frank, this gave me pause. Don’t get me wrong, I thank my lucky stars on the daily for my opportunity and privilege. But, my life is not perfect and neither is travel! 

So, to give you a glimpse of travel from all sides, I’m starting a new series, called Outtakes, for the pictures, stories and scenes that don’t make it into my normal postings!

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Take 1 // Scarfing down pain au chocolat while waiting in a 2-hour line for the Louvre.

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Take 2 // Going through security at the airport with a full water bottle. I’ve had to drink it really quickly on more than one occasion!

Take 3 // Sitting on the floor of the train for two hours because it’s too full. #glamorous

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Take 4 // Eating an indecent amount of cheese over Christmas.

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Take 5 // Drinking so much mulled wine there isn’t enough money for dinner.

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Take 6 // Thinking a tiny mountain town will have any food for sale after six in the evening…therefore having leftover candy for dinner.

Take 7 // Booking one of the best Christmas destinations in Europe for October instead.

Take 8 // Thinking I can actually hold my hands still enough in freezing weather for a clear night picture.

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Take 9 // Killing time on the train by taking a variety of selfies.

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Take 10 // Snapping many photos of random, strange-to-me-things I see all over Prague.

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Take 11 // Doing this on the Berlin Wall…awkward.

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Take 12 // Taking many pictures of my feet…just because.

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Take 13 // Becoming more obsessed with gnomes in Cologne than anyone knew.

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Take 14 // Trying to be a photographer from a moving vehicle. It never works out but I always manage to convince myself that this time I will snap a perfect picture of the glorious landscape!

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QUESTION:

Tell me…what are some of your outtakes from travel/life?

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Linking up with Bonnie, Yalanda, Courtney and Cynthia for Travel Tuesday!

 

Daily Life in Prague, v. 5

+ I’m so glad we went away for Christmas. Not just because it was an amazing trip, but because I didn’t realize how much I needed a break from Prague. I was feeling quite burnt out of my job and of the city before we left, but now I appreciate it all so much more! It’s amazing what even a two-week break can do, right?

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+ Prague seems even prettier after a break. Especially since we have gotten a tiny bit of snow…and as I write this, it’s kind of snowing again! I am also noticing the graffiti much less–it was really bothering me before I left. It still annoys me a little, especially the random scrawls on beautiful buildings, but I rarely notice it anymore. What is this feeling? Adjustment?

IMG_6647^^walking to work under my umbrella…can you spot the castle??

+ In addition, the Czechs and their stoicism aren’t making me irritated anymore. I generally appreciate this attitude on the public transportation–I like minding my own business and just reading on my commute, and the atmosphere is conducive to that–but before Christmas it was driving me crazy.  I do feel strange not smiling at strangers on the tram, and I still can’t make myself cut the whole line to get on the bus first, but I I feel like I must be getting the hang of riding public transportation the Czech way.

+ I also love my students again. Prior to our break, I wanted them to just be quiet and to listen and follow directions. Now, I’m finding the random things my students tell me while they’re supposed to be working funny once more. Of course, I still wish they would follow directions, ha! It’s been helping to remind myself before every lesson, especially the ones with kids, that this is supposed to be fun. (It’s a good reminder for life, too).

+ I feel pretty well-adjusted to my life here. However, I’m just starting to get to know the Czech culture. I also have barely made any friends–I have great co-workers, who have regular parties (so thankful for that!), and amazing support in my man. I talk often to friends and family from home, but I miss having girlfriends and couple friends. Girl Gone International is starting up in Prague, and E and I are starting to look into Meet Ups to see if we can make any friends that way.

+ I have been sick for so long, I finally went to the doctor today. This cough has been persisting for about a month now. Unfortunately, there is no general practitioner at the hospital we have to go to. Um, what? So, no luck. We need to talk to our insurance again and see what we can figure out. E is practically putting me on bed rest all weekend so maybe I can kick it on my own. I was hesitant to go to the doctor because I have a feeling this is just some kind of flu-like illness that has to run its course anyway, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to go…

+ On this theme, the past few weekends have been me just resting and trying to get better. I’m thinking my 6th month by the numbers (see 5 months here) will be my shortest and most boring one yet!! I guess I better get well real quick and we’d better cram some fun stuff into the remaining days of January.

+ Even though January has been quite chill so far (not a pun, the weather has been very mild here, compared to what I’m used to), next weekend we are heading to Jihlava for a graduation prom!  We were invited by the students we taught at the mountain English camp in September.  I’m not entirely sure what this entails but I’ll be sure to fill you in. Since we are heading up to Jihlava on Thursday and I don’t have classes on Friday, I’m hoping to add a visit to Telč to knock two things off my Czech Republic list!

+ Speaking of lists, I’ve been working on a Prague must-see list and a wish list for travel in 2015. While my Prague list seems somewhat manageable, my 2015 travel list got out of hand quickly. I just have too many places I want to see, and with our time in Prague/Europe currently a mystery, I feel (internal) pressure to see as much as possible. This bit me in the backside over Christmas, though, as we came back from our holiday more exhausted than before (yet somehow refreshed?). I’m working on culling it down.

+ January, while kind of a bummer month, is a great one for planning travel (see above). I am deeply immersed in planning our spring break week, an Easter trip, a potential ski weekend (E loves snowboarding more than he loves me, probably), and the visits of 3 sets of family and friends, in May, June and July. Luckily I love planning travel, but unfortunately I do not love decisions.

+ For Spring Break, we are debating between Slovenia and Portugal. It’s so early in March we can’t have the relaxing week by the sunny warm sea of my dreams unless we leave Europe, but I’m really interested in both of those places. It might come down to the cheapest ticket! I’m leaning towards Portugal right now because one set of visitors have expressed interest in Slovenia this summer. We might just take a long ski weekend that week, too.

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+ One decision I think we have made is to head to Amsterdam for Easter Break. I have always wanted to see the city, as well as the tulips and April seems like a prime time (especially since we have a few days off for the holiday!). So, tell me, friends…who’s been to Amsterdam? I’d love your ideas and must-sees! We will be spending most of the time in Amsterdam I think, with a day trip to see the tulip fields and maybe a night in Giethoorn.

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+ I’m still processing our epic trip this Christmas. I don’t really know where to start! Like with Paris, for example. So much happened and it’s all kind of a blur (luckily I took a million pictures to help us remember). I can’t decide if I should do a day-to-day recap of our week, or choose my top experiences, or do random thoughts, or none of the above. Considering it took me so long to write about Austria, it might be April until you hear anything else from me about Paris.

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+ Before Christmas, I was feeling pretty down about blogging. I’d been investing so much time and feeling like nothing was happening. However, an unplanned break due to my sickness and an intentional break during the holidays has me feeling much better. I’ve made a goal to write 2-3 posts a week, which feels most realistic to me. I also feel like I’ve let go of many expectations, and I’m again enjoying my blog for what it is: a creative outlet, a way to share our life with loved ones back home, a place to hold my memories, and a gateway to the awesome blogging community. Here’s to a new year…can I still say that as we near the end of January?

Linking up with Treat YoSelf ThursdayFresh-Face Friday and the Sunday Traveler

A Day in Salzburg (Austria)

Salzburg surprised me.

I figured I would like it–a fortress high on a hill, a river, mountains, a well-preserved Old Town…what’s not to like?

I also figured that it would be similar to Prague, so I wasn’t too excited about Salzburg. After just leaving Hallstatt (which I’m still working on writing about) I was pretty bummed. We’d made yet another mistake and purchased a train ticket for the wrong day (this trip to Austria was really a hot mess) and I  was grumpy to leave our little mountain paradise.

Luckily, Salzburg is a mountain paradise of it’s own. We weren’t there very long, and didn’t do very much, so I don’t have any “top 10 to do in Salzburg” lists for you.

Instead, we wandered around the gorgeous and adorable Old Town, stopped outside Mozart’s birth place, peeked into the Cathedral, gazed in awe at the mountains when they were briefly visible, tried Mozart balls (candy) and the famous chocolate liquor, and ran around the Mirabell Palace & Gardens pretending we were in the Sound of Music.

Unlike Vienna, which I know I should give another chance, I’m actually eager to return to Salzburg and explore more. I can’t imagine anyone not wanting to burst into song when seeing this charming city.

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While similar to Prague, I wasn’t like “well, we might as well just be in Prague.” Salzburg felt smaller to me, and I really enjoyed the fact that not many cars were allowed in Old Town. It was so easy to wander around the streets! I was really smitten with the riverfront, too–the water was so green!

IMG_7015 IMG_7020^^I had fun searching for peeks of the castle in-between buildings and down alleyways.

IMG_7030 IMG_7031 IMG_7032^^Mozart’s birthplace was cool to see, although we were too cheap to pay the fee to enter.

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My favorite stop was the Mirabell Gardens. It helped that we got a little bit of sun while we were there–the views were incredible! I felt just like Maria as I walked around the fountain, except she probably didn’t have to dodge selfie sticks every ten feet.

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Hope to see you again soon, Salzburg!

Linking up with Bonnie, Courtney, Cynthia and Yalanda for Travel Tuesday!