Category Archives: Travel

A Saturday Out…

Our bathroom was being gutted, so Rachel and I decided to go out for breakfast and a walk on Saturday. We started at Cafe Faux Pas, a place that does crepes really well. We split a savory crepe of egg, bacon, and camembert, then we each got a sweet crepe. Mine was, of course, chocolate and Nutella because that’s always what I go for. I loved the way they put things on top of the crepe to show you what was inside. Both were delicious.

We then trekked down to the river to go through the large farmer’s market there. We got macrons, and gingerbread, and cider. Rachel also bought earrings and a coat. There was much to see and it was crowded. To get away from the crowd and take a nice walk, we climbed the stairs to Vysehrad. The beautiful basilica of Saint Peter and Paul is nestled next to the national cemetery, which is unlike any cemetery I’ve ever seen. The sculptures and mosaics here are beautiful, and instead of slabs, there are often plots filled with flowers and plants. It was very peaceful to wander through there.

We then walked around the perimeter of the park, enjoying the views of the city and the river. It was a gorgeous day, and a group of sailboats was on the river. I photographed some ruins from around the 10th century as well as the lovely river scene.

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Lastly, my favorite photo of the day: a narrow doorway in an old wall. I just love everything about this image.

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Dinner in Mala Strana

A group of us ventured to Mala Strana to have a drink at a beer garden and eat dinner. Here’s a view from the beer garden:

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We ended up at Luka Lu, an amazing restaurant celebrating Italy and the Balkan nations. The restaurant is vibrant and colorful, the walls covered with photographs from the various countries the menu represents. This is the room in which we sat:

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Anyone who knows me will assume I began my meal with a fine wine, and that is exactly what I did. I settled on a glass of Vranec, a dry red house wine from Skopje, Macedonia. I should have purchased a bottle of it before I left because I liked it that much. We were served homemade bread that was soft with a chewy crust and had two cream cheese spreads with it. My main course was lamb roasted in the oldest method of Balkan meat preparation. According to my brief research, it is a common dish in northern Montenegro. The lamb is chopped into chunks and put into a clay pot along with onions, peppers, and carrots, oil, salt, and pepper. The food is covered with a domed lid and buried in hot ashes or live coal to slowly cook in its own juices for a few hours. It was so rich and comforting after the chilly autumn air. It was quite a delicious meal.

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Luka Lu is quirky to say the least. Apparently, it’s a thing somewhere in the Balkans to have a piece of furniture attached to your ceiling for luck or something. I couldn’t find any information about it. Luka Lu continues in that unique tradition, and there is always something fascinating to look at, whether it’s the walls or the ceiling.

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With excellent service, delicious food, and a unique atmosphere, we will definitely venture back to Luka Lu.

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Divoka Šarka

Last Saturday, we ventured out to this lovely park in Prague 6. It’s rocky and hilly, and you forget that you’re in a city. It was the first day of fall and there was a crisp chill in the air. It was nice to hike around and get out of our stuffy apartment.

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There are Shelby, Jen, and Rachel off in the distance…

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Church in a Bar and Brunch

Last Sunday I attended a church that I think will become my new church home. It’s called Do.Slova, and is located in Prague 1. The problem is I don’t know if I can find it again. Anyway, it meets in this old bar which has a lot of character. I just felt at home there, and not just because of few of my coworkers attend there so I actually knew some people. It’s a bilingual church, so everything is in English and in Czech, which I think is quite beautiful. They also do communion, which is really important to me. Everyone was very friendly and welcoming.

Afterward, Shelby, Jen, and I went to a place called Coffee & Waffles for brunch. We had passed it on the way to church, and we just really wanted some waffles at that point. This place offers full breakfast all day as well as a variety of waffles with all sorts of toppings, from sweet to savory. Jen’s had peanut butter sauce and Nutella, if I remember correctly. Shelby and I went for scrambled eggs and the Czech version of bacon with our waffles. This place was a sweet little find.

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Festival & Fried Dough

Jen, Shelby, and I ventured out last Saturday to find a cultural festival taking place in another neighborhood of Prague. There were a number of food stalls as well as vendors with things to buy. A couple different stages had entertainment. We walked through everything once to get a feeling for the offerings. There was American BBQ, Chinese food, Mexican, and all sorts of South American representation, like Peru and Venezuela. Guys, it smelled really good. We got Mexican food, went to the Irish pub tent for Irish beer and cider, and watched a Bulgarian children’s choir as well as a good sized Salsa dance class.

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We then wandered over to Wenceslas square. Why did we bother with a touristy, crowded area? Because the festival was lacking only in fried dough treats, we wanted something like that, and Wenceslas square has it.

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We found fried dough, everyone. It’s actually a Slovakian treat called a trdelnik chimney, and it was doughy on the inside, crispy on the outside, and covered with cinnamon-sugar. Also? You could get the cones filled with goodness like Nutella and ice cream, which is what we did. Linda, my cousin, this picture is for you! Thanks for bringing my attention to this treat.

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Just So

We stayed close to home the other day and went to a nearby coffee shop. The cute little place is called “Jen Tak”, which means “just so”. Everything was just so in here, from the sweet barista to the perfect coffee to the display case of tempting treats. We were on a mission to eat medovnik, a delicious honey cake. Jen Tak did not disappoint, and I’ll definitely be back. It was nice to find a charming little coffee shop near the apartment.

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Look at our beautiful cappuccinos! Jen’s had hearts and mine was a flower. The cappuccinos were served in the most delicate china cups and the coffee was a perfect compliment to the sweet cake.

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Finally, we had medovnik! For those who love honey, this treat is a must. The cake had rich honey flavor which was balanced by layers of cream. This is a cake I will indulge in again.

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Wandering…

Shelby, Jen, and I had to run an errand the other day, so we decided to make an afternoon of it. Once we were finished with work stuff, we ran our errand. Afterward, we just sort of wandered, taking in some of the beautiful architecture of Prague. Here we are, me, Jen, and Shelby, just hanging out on the Charles Bridge:

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We wandered into a beautiful, quiet church for a few minutes of peacefulness:

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There is amazing architecture everywhere you look:

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Below are a few images from the Charles Bridge:

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Below is the view from the Charles Bridge. Guys, I live here.

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Birthday in Bohemia

So, my birthday was this past weekend. So was Jen’s. We had a joined birthday celebration with our other housemates, and it was a perfect evening. First of all, we get off the metro and I have immediate balcony envy. Can you believe this place?!

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We went to dinner at a place called The Three Pigs. It’s not in a touristy area, and it had really good food. I had a dish that consisted of tiny potato dumplings (smaller than gnocchi) in a sheep’s cheese sauce with crispy bacon. I also had a mixed beer, the Czech equivalent of a black and tan. Beer is different here – it’s not so carbonated and it’s very smooth. The Three Pigs had a nice atmosphere and we enjoyed a good meal together.

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Next, we went to the Tower Park Prague. It was built during the communist era and looks like something out of Star Wars. It has a bar/cafe, restaurant, and hotel in its upper levels. We went up to the bar for after dinner drinks and to see the lights come on in the city.

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Gingerbread Manhattan – a delightful cocktail that came with pieces of gingerbread!

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The ladies I’m doing life with: Rachel, me, Shelby, Andrea, and Jen. Selfies are not our strong suit.

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Canvas: Ireland

I’m visiting my sister and brother-in-law this week and was reminded of two 5×7″ ink & watercolor pieces I made them for Christmas. I neglected to photograph them then, so please forgive the image quality below (it’s from a phone). Both pieces are ink drawings on paper with watercolor washes. These are the smallest dimensions I’ve worked in a while, and using ink so delicately was a challenge. Overall, I’m happy with the framed results.

This is based on a photograph of Greystones, Ireland, where my sister and her husband both spent semesters of college.

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This piece is based on a photograph of the DART, the train that runs from Dublin. As the dimensions of the pieces were so small, working in the details with ink was an intricate challenge.

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Travel: Girls in Grand Rapids

My college roomies and I reunited for our annual Columbus Day weekend adventure. This year, we went to Grand Rapids, Michigan, home of the roommate I had all four years of college. This occurred during Grand Rapids’s famous Art Prize, so we, of course, ventured into the delightful downtown. We had gorgeous weather, art was everywhere we turned, and downtown Grand Rapids has many wonderful dining options and coffeehouses.

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Here are my girls on a rooftop, where an interesting exhibit commented on America and war.

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This wall reflected light and dazzling color. Upon closer inspection, it was all made of plastic bottles!

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I am always drawn to water for the peace it brings me, so I was naturally interested in pieces that evoked water. Below is a graphite pencil drawing. Please excuse the poor image quality, but consider the fact that someone has captured a substance that constantly ebbs and flows with a mere pencil.

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Beyond Art Prize, we enjoyed great food and a beer fest at Founders during their Oktoberfest bash.  I am completely ashamed because we went to this amazing coffeehouse and I cannot remember its name. All I can tell you is they handcraft each cup of coffee, and my life-changing cup was black with honey. HONEY. I had never tried this before, and I cannot tell you how much I loved the combination. Also, this coffehouse was super busy, so they apparently have a reputation for well-crafted hot drinks. We also spent some quality time at Robinette’s Apple Haus and Winery, enjoying an autumn lunch, cider, fresh, hot donuts, and, for a couple of us, the wine-tasting room. Our weekends are never super expensive or fancy, which is proof that with some research and know-how, you can have a great mini-vacation anywhere you go.

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