Archive | May, 2012

Roommate bonding in Vienna

28 May

Last night we got to know our roommates at the hostel better. Two Americans and one Swiss girl. We hung out at the bar here for a while, then we went to an area called the Bermuda Triangle where a lot of bars and clubs are. So much fun. A lot of the locals were out since it was a week night and there was a holiday here today. Really, really fun. All 3 of them had to check out today, which must have sucked because we were out so late.

Today we walked to City Hall where a festival was taking place. Not sure what it was for, but it was very similar to an American fair. Lots of little kids running around, rides, fried food, etc. Really neat. After that, we walked to the remaining buildings we missed yesterday. This is the first place we’ve been to that has a lot of trees. It’s really nice here. Already thinking about when I can come back!

Pictures, duh!

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The festival with City Hall behind. Not much sun today so my pictures aren't as nice!

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Live music at the festival

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A rather erotic carnival game

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A pastry I bought at the fair

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Really pretty church

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The opera!

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We love Wien!

27 May

Oh my gosh…had a great first night in Vienna and we didn’t even leave our hostel. There is a really fun bar here with multiple specials and happy hours. And food! So we just hung out here. You can buy 4 Jagerbombs for 10 euros. Then they take the shots and set them on top of the glasses of red bull. They give you a super soaker and you shoot the first shot into the glass, which knocks the rest of the shots in. Hilariously fun. Accidentally shot one of the bartenders, so he got me back with the sprayer from the sink. Another bartender said he would take us out after his shift was over, but someone (ahem, Montana) needed to be put to bed. But a great night was had nonetheless. We’ll explore more later.

Today was spent walking around Vienna. Beautiful place with lots of parks. We want to go have a picnic tomorrow. We saw an incredible church called St. Stephen’s. Went to the castle, which I can’t remember the name of now. Pictures below! Currently enjoying happy hour at our hostel. Tonight we’ll go to an area with lots of pubs to check out.

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Beer!

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Inside St. Stephen's. The colorful windows make everything inside so pretty.

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St. Stephen's

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Mozart! In a park

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Really pretty gardens all around the castle

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This is on top of a huge hill behind the castle. You climb this gravel pathway to get to the top. There are side trails through the surrounding woods on the way up.

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View of the castle from the top of the hill. Gorgeous. The castle itself doesn't seem that old.

Beautiful Praha

25 May

Prague is so gorgeous. Very different from all of the places we’ve been so far. There is architecture from several different eras, all right next to each other.

Our hostel is nice. Staying with Aussies again- they’re everywhere. Very nice people though.

Last night we went to a 5 story club that is very popular and about a 5 minute walk from our hostel. Each of the floors has a different theme with one room for dancing and another to sit and drink. Really cool set up. This seemed like it was more of just a tourist attraction, so tonight we’re going to try to find some neat pubs in town.

We went on another free walking tour today, which was really neat because I’m really not familiar at all with Czech history. Lots of conflict between Protestants and Catholics. The Catholics won…by throwing the Protestants out of windows. Seriously. Throughout history, if you pissed off the Catholics, you were thrown out of the window of a very tall building. Or sometimes beheaded. Prague is now 60% atheist. Nobody really goes to the churches, and tourists have to pay to enter nearly all of them. These buildings are incredible, so of course, pictures!

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This guy tried to make the above church protestant. He was burned alive.

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Astronomical clock built 600 years ago and still runs

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Entrance to Charles bridge

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There are statues of saints all over the bridge

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This is for a very famous saint here. The legend is he was pushed into the river for some reasons, and they found him a couple of days later with 5 stars around his head. Here there is a cross with 5 stars around it. You are supposed to put your hand on it and it will give you good luck.

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Prague castle is on top of a huge hill. This is the view of the city from the castle.

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Entrance to the castle

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The castle gate

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This is the door to the president's office. Notice that it is open. The people see him often.

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Door to the castle. There are panels depicting the construction, which took 1000 years to complete. It started as a small rotunda.

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The castle is incredibly beautiful

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A mosaic

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This is where the kings would have stayed

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Amazing architecture

Some other fun pictures from the past couple of days:

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You can buy absinthe everywhere

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We found a park with a bunch of peacocks in it...?

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You can buy Duff beer here!

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Really strange currency- Czech karunas. This may look like a lot, but 100 karunas is about $5.

Our attempt to see all of Berlin in one day

24 May

Yesterday started off with a 3.5 waking tour of Berlin, mostly east. Our tour guide was excellent. They have these free tours in all of the major tourist cities and they are well worth it. The pictures will tell the story better I think.

Later that night, we did another pub crawl (of course). This one was of the “alternative” bars and clubs, so the really weird themed ones. We went to a hippie bar, a vampire bar, a goth bar, a ping pong bar, and this really weird club. The bars are crazy decorated and very dark. Mostly lit by candle light. My pictures didn’t turn out very well because my camera sucks in the dark.

We came back pretty late again last night and were worried about getting up in time for check out. Luckily, our Aussie friends didn’t come back until 6 am, this time with a couple of horny Swedish girls. Needless to say, we were up in time to get breakfast and pack up with an hour to spare before check out. Soon we’ll go to the train station and head to Prague.

Last pictures from Berlin!

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Brandenburg Gate


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Famous hotel where Michael Jackson held his baby out of the window


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Reichstag

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Memorial to the Jews murdered in Europe. The reason behind the design is up for interpretation.

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Memorial for the Nazi book burning. Enough empty shelves to hold the thousands of burned books.

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This is a law school that is in the area where the book burning happened. It wasn't always a law school. Lenin and others went to school here. Einstein taught here.

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Memorial to the victims of war and tyranny

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Gorgeous cathedral. Apparently many Berliners don't like this. It's newer than it appears to be, being built in 1905

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Hippie bar! Loved this one.

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Ping pong bar!

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Vampire bar

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Stamp we got for the pub crawl. Loved it.

Wombats hostel is awesome, and so are Berlin pub crawls

23 May

This hostel is wonderful. Currently doing our laundry in an actual washing machine. Then we will dry it in an actual dryer. There are only 4 beds in our room, and we have our own toilet and shower in the room. It’s the little things in life.

We are staying with two Aussie guys that are about our age. They were travelling around and getting free places to stay in exchange for doing DJ gigs…until all of their shit was stolen. They told us this crazy story about how they rented a car in Milan, parked it somewhere and left for 15 minutes, came back to the window smashed in and their bags stolen. Lost their passports, laptops, DJ equipments, and all of their clothes. They had to go through this long ordeal getting replacement passports and have to write a letter of apology to Italy or something. They bought some cheap backpacks and a few new clothes so they could continue their journey. Crazy!

Berlin is not as pretty as Amsterdam and it’s a lot bigger. It is, however, so much cheaper. Beer here is half the price it was in Amsterdam. We missed the walking tour yesterday because we couldn’t find it. So instead, we went on a pub crawl!

With the pub crawls, a guide takes you around to about 5 different cool bars and clubs. You get free shots at each location, but you have to buy anything extra. I spent less than 20 euros for the whole night.

We met a couple of Brits that were also doing the crawl. One was from northern England, the other from Southern. Very different accents and personalities. The northern guy sounded almost Scottish, but the southern guy sounded more proper or something. Northern Englanders are much less concerned with being polite or dressing nicely. They like to pick on each other. Southern Englanders are referred to as “southern fairies” by the northerners, and the southerners call the northerners “northern monkeys.” They told us that Scots don’t like the English, but some of the Northerners are okay. Basically, the two of them were sort of competing with each other.

Hopefully we’ll make the walking tour today so I’ll have more pictures. I only have a few from yesterday.

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Graffiti is everywhere

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We found this interesting ropes course in a park somewhere...?

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Funny tip jar in the bar at our hostel

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The other side

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Berliner! Good beer

Doei Amsterdam, Hallo Berlin!

22 May

We will miss Amsterdam. Spent yesterday just walking around. There are H&M’s everywhere, so we bought some jean shorts because we both forgot ours and we just felt like we needed them. We found an icecream shop that was soooo delicious. We needed that because for lunch we had some really awful pizza. We will never buy pizza again.

We barely made it to our train to Berlin on time because we forgot we had to get our Eurail passes activated. Woops! Made it on the train though. We did, however, miss our connection at Duisburg, so we had to wait another hour for the next train. We got into Berlin at about midnight. Being afraid of being in a brand new city at dark, we took a cab to the hostel. The driver told us this is a very safe city and not to worry.

We stayed in Pfefferbett hostel last night and that’s where we are now. It’s so cool in here. So much better compared to our past hostels, and cheaper. Our beds were really comfy, we had a reading light and an outlet next to our beds which was so nice, lockers in our room. It may not sound like much, but it’s so much better than where we’ve been staying. We move to a different hostel tonight due to scheduling issues. That one is supposed to be really nice too.

The plan is to take the free walking tour today to get familiar with Berlin. It looks a lot bigger than Amsterdam.

A few more pics from Amsterdam:

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The canals are so pretty

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So different from what I've seen before

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Our favorite bar in the Redlight

Amsterdam day 2

21 May

We got lost for the first time yesterday! Walked over to where Anne Frank’s house is in west Amsterdam, then spent a few hours to try to find our way back. Discovered that the last hour of being lost was spent circling our hostel.

We decided to go on a tour of the Redlight District. This was a lot of fun and we got to meet some fellow Americans on the tour. The tour guide told us all about what it’s like buying a prostitute, how much it costs, etc. Really very interesting. Some funny things she pointed out: the transvestite alley (there are different sections of the district that have like specialty prostitutes) is located across from a chapel, and the Christian hostel is on the same alley. “Big mama” alley also houses a daycare. Children here are taught about sex at a very young age. Prostitutes that have children tell them when they’re little that “mom is selling kisses.” Families live in the district. It’s a very clean and safe area.

We went back to the Redlight later that night because our guide pointed out some bars to us. We had an awesome time and met people from all over. Europeans love to vacation here. We got back to the hostel really late, but we couldn’t sleep in because we have to check out this morning. We have a seven hour train ride to Berlin this afternoon, so we’ll nap then.

Some pictures from our tour:

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Sign for a condom shop. They sell novelty condoms here. And they size men for a small fee.

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novelty condoms

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Drag queens! This was on the street with lots of gay bars. They let us take a picture with them, but Montana has it.

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One of the oldest sex shops

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The Prostitute Information Center!