Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Year of trips with Laura

Okay, so it might be a slight overstatement so say that all my trips were with Laura, but most of them were, and she shows up a lot on my favorite pictures, so this is definitely a highlight of her.
It's been so much fun going over these past photos. Makes me want to go back and reread all my blogs. (They're a LOT more user friendly than my journals after all.) It was so hard to narrow down the photos for this post, because there are just so many that I absolutely love. I'll confess, this also is a bit of a poser post. There's no denying that I enjoy it. It's hard to explain why, considering the fact that I wouldn't generally consider myself even vaguely photogenic. There's just something about trying to capture the look of the moment that I can't resist.
I've been pretty remiss on posting photos of my actual life in Czech. Perhaps we'll get a post to close things off where I highlight that as well. But this time we're going to cover top trips of 2008/2009.
The first stop on our tour? Vienna, Austria where I got to rock it up with old Hong Kong friends from Memphis, Rebecca and Rachel. Funny where you find people, eh? Note: no pictures of Laura in this section...

Okay, so it might be a slight overstatement so say that all my trips were with Laura, but most of them were, and she shows up a lot on my favorite pictures, so this is definitely a highlight of her.
The trip was for over my birthday weekend. Nice to live in Czech where my birthday is a national holiday so I had three days to have the crash course tour. Check out my November posts if you want to see more.
My next stop on the tour was a whirlwind trip through the south central countries of Hungary and Slovakia, where, thanks to other ESI teachers, we were able to take in the sights of Budapest (where Laura and I were aided by Joanna)

where we learned that culture shock is still possible thanks to the fogadunks one can fall into when railway workers go on strike and pizza parlor workers think they can comment on your portion sizes.
Next up, a quick stop in Bratislava for a Christmas Eve celebration with other ESIers.

Since we were only there for one day we'll limit it to one picture.
After a brief stopover in Prague for Christmas with Kelly, we move right along with the tour to Florence, Italy. Trains are pretty fabulous, although chatty Naples guy didn't seem to get the fact that we were in a sleeper car for a reason...

Maybe I went a little overboard on the photo parade here, but it was sooooo hard to cut myself back. Seriously. Fabulous. Country. I'll never forget the time spent staring at the David. Not because he was a massive naked guy, but because of the incredible awe inspiring detail. To imagine some man looked at a big old slab of rock and was able to find a work of art inside. Truly astounding. Not a sight to be missed. Of course, it's also not a sight to be photographed, so you'll just have to put up with more pictures of me and Laura posing. I had a rather powerful influence on her as you can see :D
From Italy we scurry along to Berlin for a fabulous week long stay with Ben and Sarah. As a special note, it was during this week of trekking about the incredible city by myself, that I spent time trying to figure out just how life might be if I got to know Mark better. Never did I guess what was coming.

Did I mention how hard it was to narrow down my photo selections. And, what a poser I've become? It can all be clearly evidenced here, even without my written description.
The next stop on this tour is Poland. This last excursion with Laura and our boss Kelly, was a quest for the marvelous pottery that is hand crafted there. We even rented a car for this trip. Seeing how much I love driving, and how living in Europe means very little opportunity for this pass time, I was overjoyed by the fact that neither of these lovely ladies know how to operate a standard transmission, thus making my driving skills essential.

Last but not least, I had the chance to travel to Nurnberg with Laura and her family when they came to visit. Being the most well traveled amongst us, and having been there at least twice before, I was in charge of making sure that everything went smoothly. Not to let this get to my little tour guide head, I naturally made a massive mistake that left us stranded in several wrong cities, only to have to take a very expensive taxi in the end. Not a mistake I'll make again let me tell you!

It's true what they say, Czech really is in the very heart of Europe. Making it an ideal starting off point for all your European travel dreams. If you want my advice, just go.

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