Thursday, September 24, 2009

Welcome to Olomouc

Ahoj, pronounced AHOY!

That's how you say hello and goodbye in Czech. But seriously, this place is full of pirate dreams and jokes, not told by me, incredibly enough.

So far my time here has been incredible! The reason I decided to come to the Czech Republic is my friend Carole. She did Med School here for several years and had come back for a couple months to visit so I decided to catch a flight on over to see her. She has been fantastic to hang out with and has made my time here a dream.

Carole and I near the church... no open contain laws here!
I arrived in the afternoon in Prague and Carole met me in the airport, then we went to see a few sights in Prague. The Prague Castle, of course, the St. Charles Bridge over the river that leads to the Stare Mesto (pronounced starry miesto) which literally means Old Town. This area was very crowded and touristy, so we split pretty quickly. I wanted to buy a Czech patch to sew on my backpack so I went into a store and in the process of buying it I promptly broke a glass ornament with my pack and got scolded (I assume, I actually have no idea what he was saying but I understood I had to pay for it...oops!).

Charles Bridge looking at Prague Castle
Septacycle in Prague!
We tried to go see the museum of miniature art near the castle but it was closed by the time we got there, so hopefully we can go the day before I leave. Then we caught a train over to Olomouc (say Olamoats) where Carole studied and is living now.

She lives in a flat right off the main square which is filled with an enormous church, several fountains and a big tall statue, probably 60 or 70 feet tall at least, of apostles, the Holy Trinity and other religious images. It's really beautiful, with gold shining at the top and an interesting juxtaposition of time with the McDonald's right behind it.

Carole pointing out Olomouc on one of the many fountains in the square
Carole has a little dog named Seymore who accompanies us everywhere! He even gets his own bus/train tickets! He's very well behaved for the most part and is quite fun to have around. Right now he's still in his pajamas....haha!

When we got to Olomouc we did the right thing and went to meet one of Carole's friends for a beer on a patio in another square with more delightful fountains and statues. We have been exploring the city, which is very cool, not too huge but definitely large enough to have lots to see. There is an atomic clock in the square that was built in either the 1300's or 1600's that has the positions of all the planets, stars, the day of the year it is, the time and the month. There is a beautiful mosaic surrounding it with images of the months and people farming. There are also little people that spin around at noon while music goes and a golden rooster that crows at the end, my favorite part!

SoundRabbit at the Olomouc Atomic Clock! Can you see the Golden Rooster in the middle?
We also went to the ballet at the local opera house! It was really beautiful with very cool costumes but we were still a little confused some of the time, even having read the synopsis before going. The music was all classical when they were dancing, but for some reason when the lights went out for each scene change there was all this modern dance music for a few seconds, then it would switch back to classical right away. Weird.

After the ballet we went to a pub with some of Carole's friends and walked through the park on our way, where I was delighted to learn that there are native HEDGEHOGS!!! We got to see 5 of them in one night! They are so cute, we got to touch them gently and took some pictures. Mrs. Brighton, that one's for you!

Seymour and me with a hedgie! Jesek in Czech
In a pub with some good cheese and beer
Today we went to the house of a little boy Carole taught English to when she was studying here. His name is Honsa, and his brother is Mishka. They have a swimming pool so we brought our swimsuits for a dip in their indoor pool! The house was gorgeous, in the outskirts of town so I got my first taste of the landscape outside of the city. Very nice rolling hills and a beautiful church on top of one. The kids were so cute, they didn't really speak any English so I just smiled and said the few words I know.We met them yesterday at the track where Honsa was doing an "athletics" class, basically a bunch of 6-8 year olds doing all kinds of silly relay races to get energy out. It was very cute and fun to watch.
Mishka in his backyard... beautiful!
My waterproof camera really came in handy in the pool! We took a bunch of underwater shots, here are a few of them. SO COOL! The kids were so stinkin cute!

Honza and Carole in the pool
Honza and I underwater

Honza and Carole
Cousin Karen, get excited, I just got a pedicure for the first time since your wedding! It's really nice here, they have all kinds of tools that get all the dead skin off your feet and make them very soft. I feel like my feet are the prettiest they've ever been, thanks Carole!

This weekend we're going hiking and next week we get to go visit a preschool where Carole is working. I am so excited to play with the kids, although it's very tough not being able to understand anything here. I am so lucky Carole is fluent in Czech and can translate for me, it makes the culture much more accessible. I know how to say please and thank you, I don't speak Czech, bathroom, women and hedgehog. What else do I need? :)

Aaaaand for those of you who know me well, this should be funny...

1 comment:

  1. Karina! Everything looks amazing! I'm so excited for you..can't wait to see you very soon! un beso guapa!