We were woken up so early this morning by the cleaning ladies in our dorm. They kicked us out of our beds at 8 so they could change the sheets, vacuum, and ruin our sleep! Haha. We went downstairs for breakfast and luckily they had more than hot dogs and salami for breakfast today. We went to class and then lunch at this awesome place called Bohemia Bagel. It’s a famous bagel place here with all kinds of breakfast food. We got food for “take away” and thought it would be quick so we could get back to class in time. Unfortunately, they forgot my bagel but fortunately, we were given a mistake bagel along with all of our orders. We were so nervous because we were running so late for class. We got back about 20 minutes late and felt terrible. There was a guest speaker who told us about the culture in Prague. She was so cool and interesting. We learned about this Easter tradition where boys get Weeping Willow leaves and braid them together to make a whip. On Easter morning, the boys knock on the girls’ doors and playfully whip them before the girl gives them an egg or a shot of alcohol. I was really freaked out at first but the woman explained that your friends are the ones that come by and it really isn’t to hurt the girl. Very interesting though! We decided today we are going to Budapest. We were debating between Budapest and Croatia but Croatia is just too far. I can’t wait to see my Hungary and experience some of the things my ancestors did.
We finished up class and decided to go to purchase our train tickets. It was a little bit of a debacle. Some people were thinking we should maybe wait and see if we could get a better deal and the other half of us wanted to purchase it today so we wouldn’t have to come back and so we wouldn’t risk rising prices. After an hour we decided to get the tickets and it was actually cheaper than quoted originally. We were going to go paddle boating but it got too late so we are going to go tomorrow. We grabbed a beer instead and sat in the park for a little. We then realized the woman at the front counter shorted us on our change! So frustrating but we all ended up just paying about $5 more for our tickets so everyone got the same amount of change.
Lisa and I ended up going home and found a hostel for Budapest. We had to shower. Usually this is a relaxing part of our day but today the dorm decided to shut off all the hot water. The dorm does this for a week every year! Thank goodness we are going to Budapest this weekend. I hopped in and I was not prepared for the cold I was about to experience. It was not cold but rather freezing. I literally felt like I was showering in an ice bath! On the bright side, at least people get in and out quickly. We then went to dinner at the pizzeria down the street with Mike and Riley. Katy J., Maddy, Katie B. and Taylor ended up walking down and grabbing ice cream at the pizzeria. They came and sat with us for a bit and then we all headed back. We decided to take a night off but it was smart because we came up with an entire plan for Budapest. This will make it much easier when traveling without our lap tops. Tomorrow we have class and then we want to go paddle boating. It looks so nice and warm on the river and I’m really excited.
Monday, July 15, 2013
First day of school! We all got up and left for school this morning. We were a little nervous but when we got there we were blessed with being in the same room we were in for our campaign work the past two weeks. We thought we finally had escaped. Lies. We learned about Central and Eastern Europe. Our teachers, Marketa and Malvina are so great. They make the class interesting because they talk as if they are telling a story instead of just a lecture. They also want us to see the town. I’m really glad they’re so flexible with the schedule because we have learned a lot just by walking around.
We finished our morning lecture walked toward lunch. We had 20 minutes to spare so we passed by this cool chalkboard wall that listed “before I die…” over and over. People completed the sentence with things they wanted to do in their lifetime. Marketa took us to this great restaurant called Bar Bar. It was so good and they had this awesome lunch menu. You could get a soup and a meal all for $6!! They have lunch menus at a lot of places but this restaurant had a great selection! Some people got cucumber soup and others got the potato. I got the potato but both were so delicious. The options for our main meal included chicken, crab salad, and mushroom gnocchi. Most of us got the chicken and it was great too. We finished up lunch and then went to the Museum Kampa. It was a modern art museum with so many interesting pieces of art. Maddy joked about this twisted statue saying, “oh Claire it’s you doing yoga.” There was a lookout on the top of the museum where you could see all over Prague. I’m glad our class is giving us the chance to really see the city!
Our next adventure was seeing the Dancing House. It is right by our school in the middle of the city. I have seen pictures of this building before and it was so abstract and crazy to see in real life. The architecture was so detailed.
We all went home and got ready so we could meet some of our Czech friends out. We went to this bar called The Pub. There are multiple pubs around the entire city and you can fill up your own beer from a tap on the table. A group of 10 competes with the other bars across the city. The contest ends at midnight and the winning team gets the glory of being the drunkest and fullest in the land. We ate dinner there and I got salmon. Lisa, Katie B., Riley, Katy J., and I went downtown to meet up with Elise and Kate. We said bye to our Czech friend, Lenka. I hate saying bye but one day we will see them again. We walked around for a little downtown but we got lost a bit. Katy and Riley got tired and went home and the rest of us walked on to meet Elise and Kate. I saw my first hostel and it was very nice! We walked on to the club and all went to a third Nebe. It wasn’t crowded at all and we got there right before they wanted to close. It was so fun to see Elise though and her friend Kate was really nice!
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
We got to class this morning and learned about the politics in the Czech Republic. It was very interesting how corrupt it is. The president, Milos Zeman, decided to put all of his friends into the parliament and remove the people who held positions in the past. We also learned about a man who became the financial advisor. He was in debt until the day he got elected. Instead of paying it himself, he had someone go to the bank and pay off his debt. We finished up the morning part of our class and headed to Wigwam for lunch. They told us our reservation wouldn’t be ready for another 20 minutes. We waited for a while and then when we sat down, they told us they were out of everything except one item on the lunch menu. It wasn’t disappointing though because Malvina and Marketa gave us the rest of the day off! We were then able to do so much around the town. Katie B., Lisa, Jackie, Riley, Taylor, Maddy and I went to this incredible vegetarian restaurant called Clear Head. It was so hipster and absolutely delicious. The tables were very interesting and lit up. Others had potpourris in the middle of the glass and table. We all ordered and Lisa and I split this sun dried tomato pesto. It came with this rye bread that looked like it had nuts in it. Almost all of us ordered the vegetable kabobs and au gratin potatoes. Potatoes are in almost every meal here. The lunch was amazing and we definitely had a clear head after eating.
Riley and Taylor went home after lunch. The rest of us rented a paddle boat and paddled down the river. We had to wait a little for one of the boats to come back. One of the workers was wearing this hilarious sailor outfit while running all over the docks. We got on the boat and Jackie and Lisa started off paddling. It was so nice out and very interesting to see the city from such a different view. For a little while we were getting followed by two boats full of boys. They were coming on strong so we paddled faster to get away. We were all taking pictures wishing Anthony was there because his photographs are phenomenal. Check out Anthony’s blog. We saw this boat that was leopard on one side and zebra on the other and couldn’t stop laughing. We thought it was tacky until we saw the curtains in the windows. They we really couldn’t stop laughing. We paddled in after our hour rental was over and waved to the people taking photos on the street. Once we waved to one person so many people kept waving back at us and taking pictures. When we stopped waving, more and more people kept egging us on! It was hilarious. We parked our boat and made our way to the Prague Market.
We got a little turned around getting to the market because it was not what we expected. We thought it was in the middle of the town but it definitely was not. Once we got there, we were shocked by the merchandise. It was full of Vietnamese vendors all trying to get us to purchase their products. One man saw us looking at these fake Longchamp bags and kept lowering his quoted price. It went from $32 to $15 just because I kept saying no. He even shouted to us lowering the price to $10 as we walked out of the market.
We were a little hungry so we took the train to this stop one away from our dorm. There were so many restaurants but not that many with an English menu. So many places looked good and we desperately wished our Czech friends were there. We couldn’t decide on what to eat but we finally found this small restaurant called Una Bella Canzone. We knew this place was for us even from a distance because we could see “pasta” and “pizza” written on the board. It was probably the first time Lisa and I did not order the same dish. When our food was served, we all tried each others. Katie liked mine more than hers and I liked hers more than mine so we switched! It worked out great.
We left dinner and went home to get ready for Budapest tomorrow and to go out that night. Only Maddy, Katie, and I wanted to go out. We went to Chateau Rouge. It was 3 stories and 4 bars in this small place. There was different music on each bar but I loved it. It wasn’t as crowded as the 5 story club but there were still some tourists around. We met this boys from New Jersey and talked for just a minute. One kid told us he wanted to open an “Europa Fusion” on the Jersey Shore and sell hot dogs and crepes. Katie and I didn’t think they would go together that well. We then started talking to these boys from Denmark at our table. They were so nice and we found out they are going to Budapest on Friday! So random. Maybe we will see them there. We danced and hung out at the bar a little longer and then got tired and went home. I cannot even wait to go to Budapest tomorrow! It’s going to be so fun.
Sunday, July 14, 2013
We woke up somewhat later today and went to lunch at this walk up Mexican restaurant called Burrito Loco. Lisa took Katie B., Jackie, Maddy and me there. It was awesome! It’s right by our school, Charles University. After we ate, we got paint and walked toward the Lennon Wall. It took us a little longer than expected because we got a bit turned around. We finally arrived near the wall and took a glance before going to the Lennon Pub. We walked up to the Lennon Pub and it was my kind of pub. I was in love with it! There were Beatles posters and picture everywhere. Right when you walked in, you were inside of the Yellow Submarine. We walked to the back patio and it was so cute! There was an imagine circle on the ground. There were records, photos, and paintings in the covered part of the patio. I was literally in heaven until I got to the Lennon Wall. Then I really fell in love!
On our walk over we saw this very cute restaurant with tons of flowers. It overlooked the river. We got to the wall and I saw some Wisconsin Badgers painted on the wall. Throwback! I painted a peace sign with the quote “if your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.” I also painted “love you more.” It is a saying my grandmother always says to me and I thought the Lennon Wall was a perfect place for it. Maybe someone will paint over the “more” and write “most.” People kept taking pictures of us painting so that was really cool! We were finishing up our painting as another group of people finished painting the new pink and red equality sign. A man came up to us with his children and asked if they could use a little paint. We said yes and assumed he would only dip his brush in a few times. This was definitely not the case. They came back about 6 or 7 times to get more paint so that they could paint their names and shapes all over the brand new equality sign. The artists just sat there calmly watching their painting become something else. When the kids finished, the people painting the equality sign grabbed their pink spray paint and covered the letters from the kids. We just watched and laughed with the artists when they fixed their sign. They didn’t have enough paint to fix the red part but at least they got a picture of the rest of their painting. We all took pictures with our paintings and even got one of all of us. I got to finally do a handstand in front of the Lennon Wall in my Ridge’s Stitches Beatles tank! Match made in heaven. Czeched that off my bucket list!
We walked away from the wall covered in paint and stumbled upon a French festival in the town. It was Bastille Day so there was a ton of wine, cheese, and bread everywhere! We saw a group of people linked together sitting on the ground crowd surfing a baby. There was music playing and everyone was cheering. We had absolutely no idea we were going to be celebrating the French Bastille Day in Prague. We looked around for a minute and Maddy and Lisa got some garlic bread. Our next stop was dinner. On our way we saw these crazy statues of these giant babies with no faces. We had no idea where to go for dinner but we finally stumbled upon something else: Elise and Kate walking to a recommended restaurant called U fleku. It’s a famous beer hall where you can really experience the true Czech cuisine. There is even a live accordion player who comes around to each table. A man with a plate full of the special dark beer came around dropping off fresh beers and taking our finished glasses. We all shared a cheese plate and Lisa and I got the same thing. We thought it would be the appetizer size but it was a full on meal with a giant piece of bread, coleslaw and everything. Lisa and I couldn’t handle it. We sat there and drank for a while. We even met these boys from Sweden! It was fun meeting people around the world once again! We finished up and noticed there was a breathalyzer near the bathroom. None of us wanted to pay to do it but it was funny the restaurant had one available.
Katie B., Lisa, Maddy, and I woke up and decided to go to Cafe Calma for breakfast. On our way to breakfast we stumbled upon a farmer’s market! It was gigantic. Probably the biggest farmer’s market I have ever seen! The market was opened until 2! So late. We walked around for a while and found some interesting stands. We got some gooseberries. I had never had them before but they are these tiny, sour fruit berries. Katie and I walked around and there were all these wild fish you could purchase! We decided not to go to Cafe Calma because we saw these delicious burgers. They were grilling them right in front of us so we just had to get them! I actually do miss American food quite a bit. We got some goodies at the farmer’s market and then went home. We were going to paint on the Lennon Wall but all the paint stores were closed. We all got ready for the night and decided to get downtown early enough to walk around before dinner.
Jackie, Mike, Anthony, Katie B., Lisa, Maddy, Taylor and I all went to the city center. We decided to go on the river boat party so we went to find tickets right when we got to town. When we were in the city center we saw all these goofy guys dressed as tennis players and wearing sweatbands. They were getting tickets to the boat party as well. We found the boat cruise guy in the yellow shirt and he led us downstairs to this Mexican restaurant. We were a little confused at first as to why we were going downstairs but we signed up and all received a free beer. Lisa took it upon herself to order 8 Coronas and little did we know that we actually had to pay for those. We were given 8 other tap beers for free though. We finished up our beer and decided to go to dinner. On our way to dinner we saw some more painted people. They are literally everywhere in Europe. We went to this cute place we saw one of the first days with the adorable seat cushions. The restaurant was called Hotel U Prince and it was right in the middle of Old Town Square. I had tortellini for dinner and it was really good but a little spicy. I had creme brûlée for desert and Jackie and this ice cream dish. Jackie was really sad she didn’t get the personal chocolate fondu. We will have to go back.
We finished up dinner and met up with our friend Elise. We got her a ticket and then we were led to a bar. We were all supposed to get three free drinks but the website was a little deceiving. The man who was in charge said we would not be getting the three drinks as promised. The boat cruise was super fun but we didn’t leave the dock for an hour and we got off the boat sooner than expected. We all started off upstairs on the boat deck where we got to set off light luminaries like we do at the lake. Katie B. and I decided to go downstairs to grab a drink. We decided we wanted to dance for a little so we went inside the boat. There was a fun dance floor downstairs. When we looked on the dance floor the goofy guys in their “tennis” outfits were all using their rackets to bat at beer cups, chug a beer by holding it with the racket, and even play dizzy bat! I asked one of them named Ollie why they were all dressed the same and he told me they were there from England for tennis. Of course, being as gullible as I am, Katie and I believed him. Ollie said they had a huge tournament Monday and Katie exclaimed, “we should totally go watch!” Well, as I continued to talk to Ollie he told me they were there for a bachelor party (it all made sense now considering the broad age range). In Europe, bacholorette and bachelor parties are usually in another country! Prague is a very common place for them because of the young night life. They also call colleges “unis” in London, which I thought was pretty funny. One of my favorite things about being abroad is meeting so many different people from all over the world and hearing all the differences across cultures.
We left the boat and our new “tennis” friends and went to the five story club. Since we went on the boat party, we got free entrance to the 5 story club. It was fun but hot and crowded like last time. There was a room with a bunch of mirrors and lasers so it looked even bigger than it actually was. It was a little too much to handle after a minute though. We walked around a while longer and then we ran into our British tennis stars again! So funny! We all were tired so everyone went home. Luckily we got a AAA cab so we got a good price getting home. AAA is definitely the way to go in Prague otherwise you will get ripped off. We are looking forward to another fun filled day tomorrow!
It’s our last day with all the Czech kids. I cannot believe it went so fast! We had our presentations this morning. Our team won! It was nice after all the hard work we all put into the campaign. I was also so excited to see the blue team’s idea. They had a really cool idea about the chip being a party chip. It was so relieving to be finished with all this hard work! It was funny watching the people at Senza announce our win because he would not say what team won for such a long time. We finished up our debriefing and Sandy took us all out to lunch. It was so nice of him! Lisa and I always get the same things for some reason and both had this turkey steak, au gratin potatoes, and cheese with cranberries. They often put cranberries on cheese here. I love it! We decided we had to get Sandy something for all the help he had given us over the last two weeks. Katie S. went out and grabbed a collectable firetruck. Sandy used to work as a firefighter and was so happy when he opened the box. It was the cutest thing! We said bye to Sandy and we all went home to get ready to go out.
Our friend Honza told us to meet downtown for dinner reservations at 7:30. Really, the reservations were at 8. He had to get us there on time, so he told us to be there half an hour earlier. We actually got here on time today. We even had time to go to this Shakespeare’s bookstore where you could read. It was just like the one in Paris! Our dinner reservations were at a place called Lokál U Bílé Kuželky. It was this incredible pub right by the Charles Bridge where they get. All of our Czech friends met us there and we got a small section all to ourselves in the basement. That way, we could all be “loud Americans” once again. Honza gave us a tour of the downstairs brewery and then we got our dinner. Lisa and I got the same thing, like usual. We shared their spicy sausage special dish and each had a fried cheese. After dinner, we all continued to drink and then we taught the Czech kids how to play Thumper. It is a funny drinking game where each person picks a signal. We do our sign and then the next person’s sign. They do the same. This continues until someone messes up their sign. It was funny watching everyone do their signs and we got so loud so it was probably best that we had our own secluded room. We played for a while then decided to go to a club.
After the pub we went to Nebe again. We walked on the Charles Bridge for about 30 minutes but it was a fun track to the club. We all danced and had such a fun time. Everyone went out and it was so sad saying bye to some of our Czech friends! I hope I will see them again. Václav, Honza, Honza, Michal, Lenka are still here so that will be fun.
We worked so hard all day and finally completed everything for our presentation. I can’t wait for it to be finished tomorrow. The red team will present at 9 and we will present at 11. Now that we are finished, I can tell you all about my campaign. Our idea for our Senza Brazil chip campaign is Senhor Senza! It is a small Czech potato who goes on an adventure to Brazil to find the new flavors for the Senza chips: Salsa, Meat, and Cocktail. We created a commercial, print ads, coasters, package design, flyers and a billboard for our hypothetical Carnival in Old Town Square, social media concepts, an interactive advertisement, in-store display, and an entire plan book! Our commercial was so cute. Mike, Katie S., and Honza made it. We even got to be in it. Senhor Senza started off as a boring Czech potato. When he was in Brazil he tried a cocktail at the river, a piece of Brazilian steak, and relaxed in a tub of salsa. After each scene, he became a little more festive. He turned out to have some cool sunglasses, a backpack, and a mustache. When he came back to the Czech Republic, he brought the Brazilian flavors. We practiced and worked all day and our presentation is tomorrow morning. We then have a debriefing and we find out the winner of the campaigns. These ideas could potentially be used in the Senza Chips campaign.
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
It’s getting down to the nitty gritty! We finished up a good amount of our creative work today. Katie B., Lisa, Maddy, and I went downtown to grab dinner at the little markets in Old Town Square. We all tried the famous fried grill cheese called Hermelín. We also grabbed another one of those cinnamon rolls. After dinner, we walked toward the clock tower to the jazz festival. On our way we saw a man playing music on a bunch of wine glasses. There are these crazy nail salons in which little fish clean your feet, while you sit in a window for everyone in the square to watch!! It’s kind of gross if you ask me. We got to the jazz festival after our little adventures. It was really cool to see live music in Old Town Square. Lisa and I got to the front of the performance and danced around. We lost Maddy and Katie for a second but they had just ran over to check out the main stage. All four of us met back up and went home. Tomorrow we will finish our PowerPoint and practice our presentation. We present Friday!
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
We got up early today to work on our campaign. We will be finished with it on Friday so it’s getting down to the last minute touches. I can’t wait until Friday when we can tell the red team our idea. I want to hear theirs too. We got a lot accomplished but had to stay in for the night to finish up some last minute parts of our project. I have been working on a lot of the creative design work, social media, and even stitching a thing or two! When we got home Katie B and I saw these preteens fake fighting each other outside. We decided to cheer for them so they would keep making fools of themselves! Hilarious!! They then proceeded to serenade the entire dorm but they were good at guitar so it was pretty nice. We finished up our work for the night and then took it easy. Tomorrow is our last day to execute creative work and then we will start working on our presentation Thursday. Our presentation has to be an hour long! We have really worked hard on this project and I’m looking forward to seeing the final product!