A Travellerspoint blog

The last couple days...

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So I haven't updated since last week. Sorry, i've been extremely busy doing stuff that I haven't done before I leave, as well as school work.

I guess i'll start with Friday when Polly and I went to the Franz Kafka museum here in Prague. I'm not really a huge Kafka fan, but it's interesting to learn about his life as a Jewish man during the first World War. If only such brave and interesting writers were around today, perhaps the world would be a better place. After the Kafka museum, we just wandered around (literally) looking for a place to eat. We had no luck finding a new place to eat, so we decided to eat at our favorite italian restaurant here in Prague. Saturday morning, we decided to take a trip to the open air market (the equivilant to the French Market back at home) and do some gift shopping. I haven't gotten all my shopping done, but i've gotten a little more than half complete. After shopping, we decided to take it easy for the rest of the day; we had a long day planned for Sunday. Sunday began with us waking up late, of course, for our tour of Kutna Hora, a village of around 15,000 about an hour from Prague. There, we saw a large cathedral called St. Barbara (photos of it on my flickr site), a old Czech palace used for King Wenceslas during his reign, as well as an old Ossuary made almost completely out of bones from people who had died during the Black Plague among other things (photos again on my flickr site). After our trip back home, we hurried and took showers and wore our Sunday best to go meet Julie, our Czech friend, for dinner and our trip to see the Czech Orchestra at the Municipal House. Twas amazing. After the concert, we went to a small coffee shop which I wish was located in New Orleans. Yesterday and today consisted of class, more walking tours, getting hot water back, and not getting a blink of sleep last night for various reasons. You don't want to know.

Posted by thisdue 18:19 Archived in Czech Republic Comments (0)

Note to self...

Look into getting a medium format camera for the upcoming school semester.

Posted by thisdue 16:04 Comments (0)

Finally!

sunny 19 °C

Granny has been discharged from the hospital. They are going to do the other carotid artery surgery sometime in the Fall.

Prague has been great, of course. The weather here is amazing, especially since I know what the weather is like at home. It's been a constant 85ish here during the day and 60ish during the night. We've been going through our "midterms" here, even though next week is our "finals" week and our last week in Prague. We've not been doing much, other than studying and doing homework, since Sunday. Polly and I are not going to Brno this weekend with the rest of the group, so we plan on exploring on our own, perhaps going to Kutna Hora, an hour away, to visit Kostinice, a bone chapel. I can't wait? Maybe I can. We also have to do the things that Storm recommended, so our weekend will most likely be an eventful one. Then next week is another busy week with the finishing up of our school work, etc.

Posted by thisdue 23:49 Archived in Czech Republic Comments (0)

July 24th, 11:45 am

overcast 22 °C

It's been a couple days since i've posted last, i've mostly been stressing about the current situation back at home. However, I do have some good news. The doctors decided to break the two arteries up into two seperate surgeries. The first surgery on the more clogged artery was yesterday at around 2 pm (New Orleans time) and it was a success. I don't know too many details, my mom hadn't been able to talk to the doctor before I went to sleep here, but she did confirm that Granny was out of surgery and coming out of anesthesia. Color me relieved. I am not sure when the next surgrry will take place, but the fact of the matter is that Granny now has a better blood flow to her brain which will, in turn, make a more healthy Granny.

I have been trying to look on the bright side of things while i'm here. I have been trying to get out as much as possible to keep my mind off the situation at home, although it should be a little easier to do so now that one of the surgeries is complete. I received a B on my first photo critique. I was somewhat upset with that grade, but I have to tell myself that I am in intermidiate photo now, and Ariya is just trying to push me harder in order for me to become a better photographer.

I have been staying in the city a lot lately, since I got back from Poland. I will probably stay in the city limits until I leave the country just because there is an enormous amount of stuff to do here. I will never get to visit everything I want, however, staying in the city of Prague will assure me that I get to visit the majority of it.

I miss everyone at home dearly; I can't wait to get back and hang out with everybody. I love Prague, but nothing is like home. I will say, however, that if all of you back at home were here with Polly and I, our time here would be so much better. Not knowing many people leaves Polly and I exploring by ourselves, which isn't a bad thing, but we know that a lot of you would love it here.

It's a pain in the butt to try and upload photos to this blog site, so please check my flickr site (www.flickr.com/photos/jeremyrsmith) regularly. I update it pretty often.

Don't worry everyone! We'll be home in 11 days! Get ready!

Posted by thisdue 11:48 Archived in Czech Republic Comments (0)

Granny's condition and Auschwitz

overcast 22 °C

As I mentioned in my last entry, my grandmother (Granny) is needing to have carotid artery surgery. They postponed the surgery, which was supposed to be yesterday at noon (New Orleans time) because they wanted to run some other tests on her heart and what not to make sure that her body can handle the surgery. So far, all the tests have come back with good news. I am still extremely nervous about this whole situation, however, i'm trying my hardest to know that she is in the best of care. Still, to know that I am halfway around the world with one of my family members in the hospital unnerves me.

Auschwitz was a mixture of emotions. The train ride there and back was horrendous and, although I had never been on a train before, I will try hard to not have to take one again. Once you get into Oświęcim, there is nothing. It's incredibly dreary and bare. Old buildings that look barren, etc. After walking for about 20 minutes, following signs that point to Auschwitz, at 4:30 AM, we come upon this small glimmer of hope in a barren town. Literally right across the street from Auschwitz is this incredibly modern hotel, it had to be brand new. They charged 180 Polish dollars ($70 US dollars) for a night there, so the 4 of us put up our $17 dollars to stay for a couple hours until we were rested enough to encounter what was before us.

Auschwitz is horrible. I couldn't even bare to walk through the entire exhibit. Not only were there rooms full of hair, which was shaved off the heads of the prisoners there, but there were also rooms of shoes, pajamas, eye glasses, combs, Jewish prayer blankets, etc. Lining the halls of most of the exhibits were photos taken of a fraction of the people murdered there. And this was just Auschwitz I. We had the option to travel a couple miles by foot to Auschwitz II, but I don't think I could have made that journey. As you can probably tell, i'm being extremely vague with my description, and thats all i'm giving. Twas not something I want to remember a lot of.

Posted by thisdue 08:11 Archived in Czech Republic Comments (0)

Not in a good mood.

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I found out yesterday that my grandmother (Granny) has to have carotid artery surgery sometime in the next day or so. Being halfway around the world, i've become extremely home sick and nervous. Although i've read, pretty much, every article pertaining to this surgery, as well as every article that speaks about how it's incredibly common, my stomach is still in knots. I may or may not have to come home before my scheduled departure time. I hope everything goes well.

Posted by thisdue 11:37 Archived in Czech Republic Comments (0)

What just happened?

sunny 26 °C

This entry will be short.

It's 9:30 am on Wednesday. The housekeeping lady just busted in Joseph and I's room and just started ripping sheets and pillow cases off everything. We are thrown to the floor. She starts to speak Czech to us, and we nod in agreement. She's just going on and on about something in Czech, but I have no idea what it was. Then she holds up a towel, one of the 2 that they give us in the dorm. She holds it up high and looks at me. I assume she wanted the other one, so I give it to her. She laughs. Joseph just keeps on saying, " Oh jezhek!" which means, "Oh hedgehog!" Don't ask me why he was saying that. The houskeeper laughed, though. This all took about 15 minutes and was either the best or worst wake up call i've ever had.

Posted by thisdue 09:28 Archived in Czech Republic Comments (0)

Sorry!

sunny 29 °C

I apologize for not updating for a while. I didn't mean to worry anyone, i've just been extremely busy. We had our first critique today in Photo, i'm gonna try to post the images from that crit on my flickr account. They are too big to fit on my photo space here on travellerspoint. Uh, since the last time i've updated, its been extremely hot here. Something like 95 degrees here and with no air conditioning located in any building, including our dorms, this makes for a somewhat uncomfortable experience. Before any of you start to have questions as to why Czech people, or the rest of Europe for that matter, don't have air conditioning, it's because it's normally not this hot, except for a few days during the summer. Tomorrow is supposed to be much cooler and rainy all day, so hopefully that will help our situation some. This weekend, Polly and I plan on going with a group of students here with UNO on a trip to Poland, Krakow and Warsaw to be specific. Yes, Auschwitz is on our list of things to visit, and to be quite honest, I can't wait. No, i'm not morbid. I think, however, that in order to truly learn about something like Auschwitz and World War II, you can only visit it in person. Learning about it in a classroom does it no justice. Below is a photo of our architecture class on one of our "field trips" and a photo of the Vltava river with most of the more prominent bridges crossing it, the one with all the people on it being the Charles Bridge.

Until next time...

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Posted by thisdue 22:50 Archived in Czech Republic Comments (0)

Terezin and Lidice

sunny 32 °C

Today was spent, from about 8 am 'till 4 pm, in the towns of Lidice and Terezin. Let me explain...

Lidice was a small town about 20 minutes northwest of Prague. During WWII, Hitler sent a prominent Nazi leader to rule over Lidice, although, not long after he was ruling, he was assassinated. Seeking revenge on the town of Lidice, Hitler killed all the men, brought all the women and children to concentration camps and raized the entire town. Currently, there is a memorial to commemorate those that had been killed in the destruction of Lidice.

Oh yeah, while we were there, two skin heads showed up in full militant regalia. I was quite nervous.

After a 40 minute drive and a small lunch in the outskirts of Terezin, we made our way to the concentration camp located in an old military fort. The concentration camp was not one of the ones which actually gassed people, i.e. Auschwitz. Instead, it held Jews to be shipped across Nazi occupied territory. Never in my life have I been to such a place. Just today, i've seen where over 100 people were housed in a space not much larger than the dorm room which I currently occupy. These rooms only had one (1) toilet and one (1) sink. I saw where hundreds of dead bodies were piled upon each other in a room much smaller than the room I occupy.

These places were incredible. No amount of history lecture in high school could do either of these places justice.

Not much else to say.

Na shledanou.

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A town once stood here.

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Memorial to the children of Lidice.

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Work sets you free.

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View from solitary confinement.

More photos can be found at my flickr site:

www.flickr.com/photos/jeremyrsmith

Posted by thisdue 17:24 Archived in Czech Republic Comments (0)

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