I have taken 2 day trips and one short weekend trip during the remainder of my program. One to Český Krumlov and one to Karlstejn. The weekend trip was to Budapest.
Krumlov was with my program and is about 2 1/2 hours away from Prague. We took a tour of the castle and had a really fun tour guide. She reminded me a lot of Lynn, very happy, up beat and excited to show you around. The castle was really pretty and probably a lot nicer than Prague Castle. It was used as a sumner palace. Krumlov is a really cute town with lots of fun shops. We ate at a restaurant and I had chicken that was really good. Any restaurant that our program takes us to has amazing food. After a tour of the castle and a quick peak at the city we made our way back.
Karlstejn I went to with 5 of my friends, it's an hour long train ride away and only $5. We were planning on taking the bus to Karlovy Vary but the bus had sold out. I really like taking the train because we got to see a part of the Czech Republic that I didn't see yet. It was very green with lots of rolling hills. The castle wasn't too exciting but the view was beautiful. The town is much smaller than Krumlov and pretty adorable. After a quick jaunt to the top and lunch we went back to Prague.
While on our trip to Karlstejn my friend Lindsay and I deicided that we should take a last minute trip to Budapest, Hungary. We left early on a Friday morning and came back late on a Sunday night. When we got there we explored the city a little and it was time for dinner. We ate at a middle eastern place that was also a hookah bar. It was a 3 1/2 hour dinner and a lot of fun. Saturday we went on a free walking tour which was really cool and informative. We saw the main sights of the city and went up to Buda castle. It's cool because Buda is the west side of the river, in the hills and surrounded by trees and Pest is the east side and more of a city. The tour took us all over the city except where we adventured to on Friday so we lucked out in seeing it all! We ate lunch at a market and I had some delicous paprika stuffed cabbage with a meatball. I love stuffed cabbage.
After lunch we went on another tour to see more of the Jewish Quarter. This was the best tour I have taken on this trip so far. It was a smaller group with mostly older people that were there to learn about the Jewish history. We got to go into a small gated orothodox community which was amazing to see. Usually people can't visit. It was near an a park that was used to count the people in the Jewish getto during Nazi occupation. Our guide said that a friend that she knows lived there and took his dog to that park and found human bones just 10 years ago. I really had no idea just how bad Hungary was during WWII. Our guide pointed out graffiti on walls that was anti-semetic and said that people in Budapest still do not like Jews. Nazis used to line Jews up by the river and shoot them so they would fall in and they wouldn't have to clean them up. Today there is a memorial of brass shoes and often people willl put pork legs in the shoes at night. Over all the tour was very informative.
That night we hung out at the hostel and met some people from Portugal that are also studying in Prague. We stayed in for the night because we were too tired from our walking tours.
Sunday we went to the Holocaust Memorial which is actually a museum and that was also very interesting. It was the best museum I have seen in Europe yet (aside from art). There were a lot of surprising facts and it was put together very well. After the museum we went back to the hostel to grab our stuff and made our way to the bus station.
Budapest is a wonderful city and if you in in central/eastern Europe I highly recommend going.
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