Friday, July 20, 2012

My journal...or lack thereof

I have an awful memory. I really should keep a journal consistently but I really should do a lot of things. I do try, though. Usually my feeble attempts look like this:

My calendar becomes my journal. It looks a mess, but it fits me.

I wanted to write down my memories of Europe soon after I got back so I wouldn't forget anything. Well, it's been two weeks and I've already forgotten some, but I figured the best way to chronicle some of my favorite memories is to write them here. These aren't all of my stories (some just need to be told in person), just a small sampling of how awesome this trip was. Enjoy!

Also, I'm really bad at this and for some reason two posts won't show up on the blog but they're listed on my post list to the right. Make sure you get to see them- they're all pretty awesome.

My East Coast Adventure

I was fortunate enough to take a trip to Europe this summer with some family members. It was an incredible experience and a much needed vacation. We were flying out of New York’s JFK airport on Monday, June 25th so I thought it would be fun to take a mini trip before to Baltimore and D.C. to visit some friends. It was great! I am so grateful for the amazing friends I have who housed me and gave up their weekend to spend time with me.

I flew into Baltimore and spent the afternoon with one of my best friends, Sarah. We walked around the harbor, chatted about life (she’s pregnant!), and bought fake mustaches at a cute candy shop (these will make an appearance in a later post). It was really hot and humid- not a combination I’m a big fan of- so we decided to head to her house early and grab dinner on the way. Sarah and her husband Jeremy are some of my favorite people- they’re incredibly kind, loving, and super funny.

The next day I headed to D.C.

D.C. and I have a funny relationship. I’ve planned on moving there twice in the last three years and as soon as everything is set up, something holds me back. I don’t regret not going, but I do find the pattern funny. Being in D.C. was a great experience and I’m glad I had the opportunity to visit. I took the metro to the Congress building where I met up with my friend Sean. He works for Utah Congressman Matheson and was able to give me a tour of the building. It was great- I loved exploring the building and talking with Sean.

The metro.

He had to return to work after the tour so I walked around the city by myself for a while. I toured the Library of Congress (my favorite building), the Supreme Court building, Smithsonian Natural History Museum, and walked down Pennsylvania Ave to see the White House and Washington Monument. It was really fun to explore the city and get a feel for everything.

 Library of Congress.

 Supreme Court Building. 

I met up with Sean and we went to Ray’s Hell Burger for dinner with a couple of his friends. It was awesome! We drove around D.C. and saw a couple of the monuments that night- they are beautiful when lit up. We stopped at Old Ebbitt Grill, a restaurant near the White House where we enjoyed awesome desserts and great artwork… We also enjoyed Sean who, at this point, was obviously sleep deprived and very entertaining to watch.

 Yep, that's Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev chatting over some Ray's Hell Burgers.

D.C., Day 2

My second day in D.C. was a ton of fun. I was able to sleep in (thank goodness) and Sean and I met up with my friend Laurie and her fiancé for brunch near the Eastern Market. It was wonderful visiting with Laurie and catching up with her. After brunch we went and explored the Eastern Market. I LOVE outdoor markets so this was one of my favorite things we did. Sean and I met one of the vendors selling his own artwork and ended up talking with him for almost an hour. I loved his work and his conversation and ended up buying a fantastic print from him. We were supposed to go to Baltimore that night but plans fell through so we decided to explore Georgetown and go to Old Town Alexandria for dinner. This was by far my favorite day in D.C. I love traveling to different places and getting to know the city.

I just realized I took absolutely no pictures of this day. I will blame it on having too much fun to remember to take pictures...

My last day in the Capital

This was my last day in D.C. so after Sean and I went to church we decided to see the National Building Museum. The building was incredible and the exhibits were very cool. Sean loves architecture so it was really fun watching him geek out at the museum. The museum was housing a Lego exhibit that was pretty incredible and really fun to see. There was even a place where we could make our own Lego buildings- it was awesome! (Yes, I’m a child.) After the museum we walked around outside and found the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, a beautiful and peaceful memorial I had never seen before. We then went to the National Museum of American History and spent the rest of the day walking around the exhibits. I loved looking around the President and First Lady exhibits as well as The Star-Spangled Banner display. Nerdy? Perhaps, but I thought it was great.

Inside the Building Museum.

 A Lego building!

 The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.

Sean and me!

Journey to the Republic

We all breathed a huge sigh of relief when we set foot in Prague. Getting there for me, Jon, and Kelsi wasn’t difficult at all- we had all traveled to the East Coast a couple days before our departure so we arrived at JFK without a problem. My parents and Sam, however, were about thirty minutes from missing the flight. There were some complications with their connecting flight so when they finally got to our gate at JFK, my mom burst into tears because she was so terrified they weren't going to make it. The flight over was uneventful and my family slept quite a bit thanks to my sister-in-law’s stash of Ambien. I've decided to slip my family some Ambien every chance I get because they’re hilarious when on it. My brother Jon becomes super giggly- he sat in his seat and laughed for about fifteen minutes at nothing before falling asleep. My sister-in-law would wake up periodically but when I would try talking to her, she would get super confused and just stare at me. My mother fell asleep but woke up for dinner. Well, kind of woke up for dinner. She fell back asleep while lifting her fork to her mouth. It was great.

We finally got to Prague, got on the metro and arrived at our apartment. Jon, mom, and I went out and got some food at a few little shops in the neighborhood and we settled in for the afternoon. That evening we went out into the city and explored New Town Square.

 The Powder Tower where gun powder was stored.


 New Town Square

The metros were pretty deep underground so the escalators were super long.

It's how we do

My family likes food. A lot. Almost all of our family traditions revolve around food. The way we travel revolves around food. So naturally I need a post dedicated to the food we ate in Europe, right? In the Czech Republic we ate a lot of goulash. A lot and lot of goulash. Most of it was pretty tasty, especially with knedliky (bread dumplings). My favorite was called segedinsky goulash. It was delightful!

Another dish we had was halusky. It was delicious- a sort of small gnocchi-like dumpling mixed with bryndza cheese and chunks of bacon. Some had sauerkraut as well. I’m not going to lie- I really miss it.

Fruit dumplings were also a favorite. Desserts are not particularly sweet but I loved these. The dumplings were most often filled with strawberries and were topped with sugar, soft cheese, and butter. Sounds weird, but was delicious.

While in Austria we spent half a day in Italy and ate an amazing dinner there. You really can’t go wrong eating pasta in Italy. The food was delicious, beautiful, and fresh. On the complete opposite (but just as tasty) end of the food spectrum, we spent a day in Germany and ate great German food. It was hearty and filling and we ate the best dessert ever there- German pancakes. I have decided to devote the rest of my life to trying to recreate that dish.