Friday, May 25, 2012

A few things that are different:

We have construction in front of our house. We live on a single lane road (one each way) and they are working on laying pipes on one side.  They are digging up about 200 yards of the road.  The workers started March 15 and plan to be done beginning of August.  Their system is archaic, they are causing many people an additional 15 minute detour, and in the states this job would take 3 weeks tops (even with our Atlanta crew of ten men standing watching while two work).  The good news is they let me pass (there are five houses directly in front of construction so we have access to go) but we often have to wait a few minutes before they can move the trucks.  The men are all very friendly and wave and smile when I wave and smile at them.  My italian neighbor, Chiara (who is actually terrific, but just fed up with the inconvenience), does not wave or smile and she has to wait 5-10 minutes to pass.

I typically go to three different grocery stores each week, but have gone to up to six just to find the foods and cleaning products I need.  There are many chains of stores, but they all carry different qualities.  One has good meat, the other has great produce, one is right in town but is very small but okay in a jam.  There are also a few British shops which sell cake mix and chili in a can, but for double US price.  The good news is I have many options.  I'm sure it was much worse 10 years ago here. I don't know how I could work in an office and get all my house jobs done.  Most of the stores are 15-25 minutes away.

My laundry is another difference.  My washing machine takes 2 hours 15 minutes for one load and my dryer takes 1 hour 55 minutes.  My friends come over and see the big size of my washing machine and newness of both appliances and are quite envious.

Yes, life is much slower here.

You may think that I am being a bit negative, but actually I find it quite humorous.  I am enjoying the slower pace, and besides the construction, the rest of my experiences here have totally out weighed it in a positive manner.  We have all met some terrific people, the weather is wonderful (75 degrees with a light breeze, no humidity and the sun is shining). Prague is truly a beautiful city.  There is so much to do and see.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Well, we have been here for almost three months, and I can honestly say I think we all have finally found our groove.  The first two months were quite hectic with all of the adjusting to our new way of doing things, the language barrier, finding our way around the city, and locating where to buy certain items.  I am very proud of the boys for taking the move so well, not an easy task.  Nicky hasn't skipped a beat and continues to sing every morning while getting ready for school.  Robby has taken a little longer to warm up, but he is turning the corner.  Both boys miss their friends of course, as do Bob and I, but we are meeting some terrific folks here and building new friendships. 

Both boys are playing baseball on Wednesday evenings and Saturdays afternoons at school.  Bob is the coach and the boys are on the same team (Nicky is playing up).  Baseball here is more like gym class with both boys and girls playing together and there are only two teams, so they play each other every Saturday.  Needless to say, it's a lot different the Murphy Candler little league in Atlanta, but the boys (all three) are having fun.  Bob also takes the boys to a Czech baseball clinic Saturday mornings with another US family and receiving some terrrific instruction.  Robby has also joined a Czech lacrosse team a few weeks ago.  When I say Czech I mean that all the players are Czech (speak little to no english).  Fortunately a few of the assist coaches speak some english.  The boys are fairly nice, but much rougher than US lacrosse.  We had to get new pads for Robby that are thicker and more coverage since the other boys think they are playing hockey, body checks and all.  The team plays pretty much year round.  They have a tournament next Sunday so that will be Robby's first go at a real game since the fall.  The coach likes having Robby on the team because he is fast and has great technique.  He's hoping Robby can teach some of his teammates.  I guess Robby better hurry up and learn Czech!

We have our first US visitor staying with us.  Bob's mom and  dad arrived May 9 and have seen many of the sights of Prague the past eight days.  Now they are off to Vienna and Budapest for a week via train, then they will stay with us for five more days.  We have enjoyed having them here and look forward to hearing about their trip when they get back to us.  We hope we have more visitors in the future.  We have plenty of room so come on!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Spring travels

Hello dear ones,

I have posted some photos today of our trips the past month.  We headed to Dresden for a weekend at the end of March and loved it!  The next group of photos are from our springbreak trip.  We started our car ride to Ausburg, Germany, just outside of Munich, to Legoland!  The boys had a blast were inspired to create.  From there we headed down to the border to visit Neuschweinstein Castle of King Ludwig.  Speaking of inspiration, this castle inspired Walt Disney's castle.  It was truly stunning.  After a fantastic lunch of goulash and spatzle, we headed further south across the Austrian Alps into the Italian Alps.  This was one of the most beautiful drives we have ever taken, and the photos don't do it justice.  The drive was a bit traitorous with 48 hairpin turns, but we made it!  We even stopped to play in the snow.

We spent the night in a small village in the Dolomites and woke Easter morning to a room full of eggs!  We continued to find the throughout the day in various shoes and pockets.  We stopped at numerous small churches on the road to Venice in hopes of finding a mass, but to no avail.  We arrived in the crazy chaos Venice and managed to find our way to our fabulous hotel, the Molino Stucky Hilton.  We had a three room suite with two bathrooms, a kitchen, and an amazing view of Venice.  We had a lovely time roaming the small alleys and walkways of the town, exploring stores, restaurants, and sweets shops.  I managed to sneak in an art museum and a few churches on the way.  The last of our third day in Venice was spent touring the Duomo Palace and San Marco's church.  The boys favorite part of the whole trip here was feeding the pigeons in San Marco Piazza!  Boys!

Next, we were off to Vienna, Austria.  Bob had to go to Warsaw, Poland to work for a few days, so the boys and I just hung out more like locals: no museums.  The first day was spent at the Pratter Amusement Park where we found the oldest Ferris wheel.  It takes 22 minutes to go around once.  We ate hotdogs and pretzels (the big, soft kind), to took in the culture with lots of people watching.  Day two we took the metro/ubahn to old town and explored on foot.  We went to a very cool place called the Haus of Muzik.  It was four floors of everything music; from science how sound travels and how the ear works with lots of experiments, creative expression, to learning about the Vienna Philharmonic and many classical composers that called Vienna home like Wagner, Beethoven, Mozart and Strauss.  The boys were even able to conduct an orchestra. We finished the afternoon with a late lunch at Mc Donalds and a trip to the pastry shop.  The last day, with Bob back with us, was spent taking in a bit more culture with a visit to the art Albertium, the palace garden, and a walk about town ending with lunch at an outside cafe.  By this time we were all ready to head back to Prague and sleep in our own beds.  I was a wonderful trip!

Spring photos #2

Dresden, Germany


courtyard of Residence Palace, Dresden

largest mural in the world of all the Saxony rulers 1100-1600 AD

Spring photos#1

Neuschweinstein Castle, Southern Germany

Austrian Alps

Italian Alps

view from hotel in Dolomites, Italy

Venice, Italy

On the oldest ferris wheel in the world, Vienna, Austria


Nicky's fieldtrip: walking tour of Lessertown (Prague)

View from Charles Tower, Prague

Legoland, Germany


Easter brunch in Venice

ceiling in Venice Acadamie

Nicky in front of St. Orsola painting



St. Charles Boremeo, Vienna

on the Danube River in Vienna