MORE SNOW, LEGO & GIANT FACELESS BABIES // Prague, Czech Republic

Life has continued to be busy lately, as Prague is now full of friends and family alike! I still can’t believe that Christmas has come and gone, with New Years now looming on the horizon.

I have been keeping busy playing tour guide for Mum and the family. It seems I have unfortunately got the kids hooked trdelník, a pastry rolled in sugar and grilled over hot coals.

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We stumbled across these giant babies by Czech artist David Černy. We had previously seen them from a distance crawling up the TV Tower, and I didn’t realise how big they were up close! They are meant to mean something about the rebirth of the Czechs after the demise of Communism, and the lack of faces is about their confused identity. I think.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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The cold weather has seen as try to find indoor activities to break up our outdoor expeditions. We checked out the Lego Museum, and it was fantastic! I think us big kids enjoyed it even more than the little kids. As well as just having basically every Lego set ever, the Museum also featured original sets and some information about the creation of the company. Plus, everyone loves Lego Star Wars.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The weather had been so cold that puddles (and fountains, such as the one above!) were freezing, so we were expectantly waiting for snow. Our wishes were fulfilled yesterday, when it snowed all morning. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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Mum and the family missioned over the my side of town and we played in the falling snow at Vyšehrad before bunking into my little room for some homemade soup. It was such a wonderful experience!SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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The kids were so excited, as were all of us! After lunch we had another small play in the snow and admired some of the city views from Vyšehrad.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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That afternoon my friend, Aidan, arrived into Prague. We kept the afternoon pretty chilled out and caught up on all that had transpired since we had all seen each other back in Melbourne. Today we hiked up Petřin Hill and climbed Prague’s version of the Eiffel Tower. I had never been up and it offered come amazing views of the city.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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The sun even came out, so it was hard to take a photo!SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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The afternoon was spent wandering around the castle and showing Aidan some main sights in the city. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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We also dropped by the John Lennon Wall, which I hadn’t seen since it was painted completely white by some guerrilla art gang a month or so ago. The wall is pretty much covered again, but it looks a bit different to before. It is a forever changing work of art anyway.

Hope you all have a fantastic New Year!

– Reanna.

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SNOWFALL // Kutná Hora, Czech Republic

Despite our lack of snow on Christmas, we have been keeping optimistic about the prospect of snow here in Praha! The weather forecast had us expectant for some on Friday morning, but unfortunately there was none. I took Chris and my family out to Kutná Hora for the day, and we were treated to a small snowfall! It wasn’t heavy enough to build up substantially on the ground, but it was enough to satisfy our tourist desires.

10402605_983194495047625_915465954511396613_nI was probably the most excited out of all of us. It is such a bizarre experience being in falling snow, and we were even able to see the small intricacies of individual snowflakes! 

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Olivia thankfully shared my fanatic excitement, and we ran around in the snow while it lasted. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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We are still hoping for some heavier snow in the near future! Considering the temperature is unlikely to get higher than -1 celcius in the next week, my fingers are crossed.

– Reanna.

VESELÉ VÁNOCE! // Prague, Czech Republic

Merry Christmas! I hope everyone had a wonderful time celebrating with friends and family. It has been a vastly different experience celebrating it in a foreign – and cold! – country, and without all the family I would usually see. I am very grateful that I was able to spend it with some loved ones, and Chris and I were able to skype family back at home.

On Christmas Eve most Europeans celebrate their Christmas festivities, so much of the city is closed. We were able to go to an exhibition of handmade Bethlehem nativity scenes I had previously seen with my Czech buddy.

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The scenes were made from all kinds of material, ranging from paper to loom bands, food to mechanical wood work. It was definitely worth looking at!SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESYes, even gingerbread!

Christmas day was a pretty chilled out affair. Chris and I headed over to my family’s hotel and we basically spent the entire day lounging around, cooking, eating, talking and a few casual strolls around the block. It was really enjoyable!

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Breakfast (second breakfast for Chris and I, we were dying of starvation when we woke up!) was pancakes. Yes, Julian got a Spiderman suit for Christmas! SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

For lunch, Chris and I cooked something Czech themed. While not the traditional Czech spread of friend carp, we had roasted pork (with garlic, lemon, white wine and oregano) and potato salad. It was delicious! Oh, and Czech beer.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

For dessert we had a Danish rice pudding, mixed with cream and almonds and served with a raspberry sauce. Traditionally in Denmark a whole almond is placed in the pudding and whoever finds it receives a prize! We ended up putting in multiple whole almonds and gave the kids some prizes.10556221_982355401798201_7630888170489666679_n

Despite the lack of snow – and probably far too much eating – it was such a nice day. Chris and I of course broke out our daggy Christmas cardigans. Much love to everyone celebrating the holidays everywhere!

– Reanna.

CHRISTMAS IS COMING // Prague, Czech Republic

Christmas is well and truly here in Prague now! It is a vastly different experience to the festive seasons back in Australia. Warm food and mulled wine can be fully appreciated in the frosty winter nights! The city centre also looks like a fairytale.

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Chris arrived on Sunday night, and Mum, Stuart and the kids arrived Monday afternoon, and I just picked Morgan up from the bus station this morning. I have gone from being by myself in Prague to having so many people around! We had a look around the Christmas markets on Monday night and enjoyed some delicious mulled wine.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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A friend who went home for Christmas generously donated me their Christmas tree so I could appease the kiddies concerns about not having a tree at the hotel! They were very pleased with their handiwork.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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On Tuesday I took the family to look around Prague Castle. The sky was actually somewhat clear, so it was quite a pleasant day. My little brother is coincidentally in a massive knight phase, so all his dreams came true when we encountered these street performers at the castle. Yes, he has a knight costume as well!SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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Christmas tress everywhere!SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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To escape the cold for awhile we checked out the Prague Toy Museum, which is inside the castle. It had a fantastic collection of toys from times past.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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As well as possibly every Barbie doll that every existed!SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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It is lovely to have family around again. It still all feels a bit surreal, and I keep forgetting that Christmas is just around the corner!

Hoping you all have a lovely Christmas holiday.

– Reanna.

CURRENTLY: EDITION 2 // Prague, Czech Republic

I was perusing through my blog archives looking for a particular post, when I came across this post from a few months ago. Basically, I was checking in with how I was feeling in a few basic areas of life. Today I thought I would do so again, and see how life has changed since then!

These photos are from a walk I went on yesterday up Petřín Hill. It is a beautiful area – though incredibly steep to walk up!

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(Memorial to not only the victims of communism, but everyone who was impacted by the regime)

Housing: This is well and truly not an issue now! Back when I wrote my initial reflection post I was enduring the hell that was student dorms, but as I have mentioned previously I have escaped to a much better life. The location is great, I have my own kitchen, and I live right near the tram. Sure, it is a bit old and the internet can be frustrating when trying to skype, but I like it!

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University: I am so utterly disappointed with Charles University. I cannot express my excitement to get back to my beloved University of Melbourne and reigniting my passion for learning. Registering for classes probably cut two years off my life due to stress, and the classes themselves feel like they have been thrown together on the side without much care for exchange students. Professors don’t answer their emails and there is little guidance with some of my assessments. I am really struggling with a lack of motivation that has ensued from my despair. I am currently trying to nail out my final pieces of assessment, but I am finding it hard to concentrate on something I have no invested interest in. I know facing challenges was a whole part of exchange, but it has been really, really hard. While it has made exchange a bumpy ride at times, it certainly hasn’t detracted dramatically from my overall experience.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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The city: My feelings are pretty much exactly the same as the initial post – sometimes I forget to stop and appreciate this beautiful city. Going for this walk yesterday provided me with a refreshing view of it all. I am also looking forward to having Chris, some of my family and a friend visit me in the coming days, so I can show them around!SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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#Feelings: A bit up and down lately, as I struggle to put together these assessments for uni and battle a lack of fulfillment I often feel (due to not having work, volunteering, etc). I did recently help organize and run a quiz night for the Amnesty International English Speaking Group in Prague, which was quite fun. Being involved in the group (even if it is only an hour or so a week) has been a fantastic experience, and I have met a lot of great people through it. Traveling with Chris has always been fantastic, and I am so excited for friends and family to visit! Chris arrives tomorrow night, so I don’t have many days of solitude left. The cold weather has also been quite hard to deal with, as some days it is painful to be outside for too long, and being locked up inside all day doesn’t make me feel too great. But overall, I am doing well!SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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And that is all I think! I have also had some great dinner parties and coffee dates with friends, and I am getting ready for Christmas. I will probably have a bombardment of photos coming up soon when everyone arrives in Prague, as I imagine there will be a lot of sight seeing!

– Reanna.

AND I THOUGHT 5 DEGREES WAS COLD // Stockholm, Sweden

This past weekend has simply flown by. I still can’t believe that it was my last major trip away before I leave Prague for good, and that Christmas is just around the corner. Where has the time gone?!

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESChris and I met up at the Stockholm airport early Friday afternoon, but by the time we got into the city it was already dusk! It quickly became dark, but we spend a bit of time walking around the Julmarknad (Christmas market) near our accommodation in the old town. Europe is definitely far more festive than Australia when it comes to Christmas – sorry guys! But I suppose rugging up, drinking cold wine and Christmas lights that you don’t have to wait up until 10pm to see helps with the overall feeling.

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe old part of town was beautiful, set on a smaller island near the Royal Palace. We had a quick walk around in the morning before joining a free tour of the more modern part of the city. It was interesting to learn some more about the history of the city, including visiting the site of the robbery that coined ‘Stockholm Syndrome’. However, it was probably the coldest I have ever been in my life. How do people deal with this for months on end every year?

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWe also passed the main hall where the Nobel Prizes were presented last week. I’ll be honest, I had no idea they were actually given out in Sweden.

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAfter a quick coffee pitstop to regain some feeling of warmth in our bodies we indulged in some delicious Swedish food for lunch. Stockholm is not exactly cheap, and when one is used to the ridiculous cheapness that is Prague, it feels even worse. But we ended up eating out most of the time anyway!

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWe spent the remaining daylight hours walking along the water to another small island that was predominately a park (and apparently a yacht storage area, as it seems like everyone in the city owns one). The city was absolutely beautiful, and made even more so by the glimpses of sunlight we were given.

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESIt quickly became dark though. We spent most of the evening trying to stay indoors – be it at a restaurant or a bar – and spending a bit of time reflecting on this past semester. The end of it is coming about so quickly, and we will be hitting the ground running when we get back to Melbourne. Needless to say, we both have a lot to think about at the moment!

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSunday morning saw the sun pop out again, making the Swedish archipelago look absolutely stunning. I really do love the feel of Scandinavia – besides the cold – so I think it will be a place on my list to return to. Though perhaps in Summer!

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWe visited Vasamuseet, which was a museum constructed around an old ship that sunk minutes into its maiden voyage in the 1600s. Considering the ship wasn’t recovered from the sea floor until the 1960s, it was in amazing condition. The sheer size of the boat was ridiculous. The museum itself was really well put together, with information in both English and Swedish.

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESChris and I spent far too long looking at this map.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThis is what the ship is imagine to have looked like. 12 years of research into paint (who has these jobs?) has revealed what colour the ship would have been before it sunk beneath the ocean. A stark contrast to the dark wood we saw.

The remains of about 12 people were also found in the ship, and an exhibit was put together showing these paired with reconstructions of what these individuals may have looked like. It is amazing how much can be inferred from some teeth, a few coins and a scrap of cloth. Technology astounds me sometimes.

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWe spent our afternoon getting into the Christmas spirit yet again, shopping for daggy Christmas cardigans at what was probably the greatest store ever. Beyond Retro – a clothing store we probably would have looked in regardless – had a room dedicated entirely to Christmas themed cardigans, shirts, vests and jumpers. It was literal heaven for Chris and I after spending the past few weeks desperately scouring shops for the perfect cardigan of our Christmas dreams. All will be revealed when it gets closer to the day!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe evening was pretty laid back – we had to catch flights in the early hours of Monday morning – but that didn’t stop us from having another meal out, and indulging in some traditional glögg, a kind of mulled wine. It was hideously sweet, but delicious nonetheless.

This week is my last week of class before Christmas! Some of my classes end now, but a couple run in the first week or two of January. I am starting to get a bit more into the Christmas spirit, after having most of it torn out of me due to years of working in retail!

– Reanna.

UNEXPECTED NIGHTS // Prague, Czech Republic

I was planning a pretty low key night on Friday, but things escalated into one of the best nights out I have had in the city so far! The wonderful tour guide I had on the Prague Alternative Tour informed me (only hours before the event started!) about the final party at the artist residence Trafačka. On the tour we were told that the future of the venue was in doubt, but it seems the landlord has finally sold up and it has to close.
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IMG_5826_2I had seen Trafačka during the day time on my tour, and our guide had told us about some of the amazing events that had previously been held there. During the day time it was hard to imagine such a place being so full of life, but on Friday night it was certainly alive. To mark the end of its era, Trafačka opened up its main gallery, the basement, the warehouse (turned dance floor) and courtyard to house hundreds of people. Over 100 artists also had their art on display.

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IMG_5853I unfortunately forgot my camera, so these snaps have been kindly donated by my dear friend Hamza!

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IMG_5864The courtyard even featured a shed that was converted into a bar!

The place had such an amazing vibe. It was great to wander through the gallery space, which was somewhat interactive in the sense you were able to meander through an old basement, climb up a rickety staircase into a loft, and shuffle down run down corridors. You could also hang out in the basement bar, lounge on old sofas on the balconies, or dance in the warehouse. It was certainly an experience!

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IMG_5910We eventually ended up leaving and heading to a friends place, but I am so glad I had this opportunity to experience the feel of Prague culture for young people. It was completely different to all the Erasmus parties that clog up my invite page on Facebook (Crazy Moustache Party, Glow Party, Traffic Light Party,  Crazy Sunglasses Party…). It is such a shame that this space has to end.

6snap-141207-203214Also, please enjoy a random snapchat from Hamza of me getting my haircut at a market today. Hours of googling for an English speaking hair dresser had yet to produce any worthwhile results, and when I found out it was 200 CZK (10 AUD), how could I say no!

– Reanna.