March Break 2019 - Off we go


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Europe » Czech Republic » Prague
March 9th 2019
Published: March 9th 2019
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CastleCastleCastle

(Sorry, too tired to properly label)
Here comes another March Break - here comes another travel escapade with the kiddos. It's a smaller group this year, only 20 which is nice. And they are a super sweet group. They were funny to watch at the airport - we got there super early so some played cards, some were playing this super weird game on their phone - we were cry-laughing it was such a dumb game. They really are a lovely bunch.

They are not a well traveled group (for the most part) which is exciting because they take such joy in the little things that you tend to overlook when you travel a lot. For example, it was so cute watching them just before takeoff - a bunch of the girls were waving goodbye to someone down on the tarmac. Adorable. Then we took off they got so excited to see the clouds and the city from above - so much excited chatter!

We had about 2 hours in Toronto for supper. We ended up chatting with these two guys that do really interesting work in Russia and Ukraine to help orphanages - it was a great little chat, it's fun hearing about other people's jobs especially when it's something meaningful like that. The flight to Frankfurt was so long. I’m so used to flying to Europe via Iceland and being able to chunk it into 4hr flights. Needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep. Neither did the majority of our group, even if they did try… poor guys, they were in a sorry state by the time we landed… and then we had to march our way to the other end of the airport for our connecting flight.

Ugh Frankfurt airport… last year we had a lot of “fun” with their SUPER thorough security check and this was much the same. Border control was fine, but the security check wasn't. I went first and was talking with the guy working the conveyor belt/boxes - I told him we’re a group of kids from Canada (so… the idea that please be patient...? please? haha). He was great. The rest not so much… They had some weird different metal detector thing where you have to stand a certain way and look ahead - the guy started telling me in German something, I’m like sorry, English? He then yelled at me in German. Awesome. Then he yelled at me a third time for looking at him instad of straight ahead… yes sir, you yelling at me in German is really going to help me understand. I’m stunned I didn’t get pulled over for secondary just for the LOOK I gave him. As I walked by, I told him the kids don’t speak German and asked to stay so that I can tell them what to do for the machine… he told me no and to wait at the end of the line. (He told me this in English…) Sure enough he proceeded to get mad at all the students IN GERMAN. Awesome. Most of the kids were pulled aside for second checks and then one got pulled over for her laptop - they took her passport and called over the military police… and of course when I went over they told me to back up and wouldn’t answer any of my questions. Sigh. Thankfully after about 5min they let her go… but of course wouldn’t say what happened.

Flight to Prague was short and sweet and from the airport it was a quick ~20min or so into the city. We basically just walked from the Castle area to the Old Town area. Some nice views along the waterfront, but the lighting wasn’t great for photos. We made our way to the Charles Bridge - I’m kind of surprised there weren’t more people around to sell us things, but I guess it’s not high season yet. They got to see the main gate and we went about a 1/3 of the way down the bridge (we’ll be back tomorrow), before heading into the main Old Town to see the astronomical clock. I love this clock - not just because of it’s intricacy, but the colours too.

Students had about an hour of free time in and around the Old Town - of course some went to Starbucks (…) and some went to buy gelato right beside the clock ($7 for a scoop LOL) but that’s ok. They had fun. It’s too bad we don’t get more free time in the area later on because the food stalls here are amazing - the smell fills the air - sausages, pork going on the spitfire, this amazing dough/pastry thing (cinnamon and nutella optional), mulled wine… all the goodies. Ah well, another time. For my own free time, there wasn’t enough to go off and find the M&S, so I pretty much just roamed through some alleyways in search of graffiti and statues. There were some street performers (mostly gymnastics), so I watched those too.

Supper was good - it was a goulash with potato wedges and bread dumpling. Mmmm, I love all their doughy dumplings in this part of Europe. Of course a bunch of students complained - first night they always complain just from their exhaustion... like guys, crazy thought, we eat local food on this trip,

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This morning was rather rushed for some people lol. We had a few forgotten alarms this morning, but nevertheless we got out relatively on time to head into the city for our tour of Prague Castle and the compound.

It’s going to be the recurring theme of enjoying seeing them experience things - they’re not fans of the whole cobblestone everywhere situation lol. Pretty, but not ideal for walking. Also not used to (very visibly) armed police and security everywhere. Kiddos were quite nervous about the security check to get into the castle - that didn’t last lol, the guards were having a good laugh at how all over the place we were - kids were getting their bags stuck on the table edge, someone’s bag opened and accidentally spilled everywhere, etc. Once the kids saw them laugh they were good - a much calmer experience compared to Frankfurt lol.

The Castle grounds are impressive and it was fun to listen to the gasps and ooooohs and awwws as we’d turn corners and they’d discover something new - the vast courtyard, the arch doorways, the statues, etc. Of course, it started to rain and they then decided to have slip-slide contests over the wet cobblestone… stunned (and grateful lol) none of them fell.

The best reaction was going through the cove and coming out to see the cathedral, St Vitus. Majority of them have never seen a European cathedral and the wow factor was certainly there - all the intricate details, the history of it, the carvings. I’m happy they were so visibly excited. We got to go inside and marvel at the stain-glass windows (it’s always all about the glass for me) and the sheer size of it inside. (Plus all the statues, monuments, tombs, etc.)

We got a short break at a cafe - it was windy and spitting rain, so the kids needed to warm up a bit. Some of them bought drinks just to hold something warm which is both sad and adorable lol. They also got their first taste of having to pay for the joy of using a toilet - get used to it lol. I keep telling them any time you have access to a free toilet - GO - even if you think you don’t have to. Anyway, I enjoyed apple pie with my tea and then we continued on our way.

We passed through the Golden Lane to head back out towards the Old Town - beautiful panoramic view of the city was as we came down the hill. We got to cross Charles Bridge - so much more room to breath this time of year as opposed to the summer! - and that was pretty much that. They were supposed to have some free time, but between being late in the morning and some people being late coming back from souvenir stops at Golden Lane, that was no longer the case.

Bus ride to Krakow was looooong. We had to deal with a few “administrative” things on the bus and then it was just lazy time. The students were super active and playing games for the first 45min or so… then everyone fell asleep until lunch break haha. I took the time to organize my photos from yesterday and get my blog ready to go. Yesterday really was just pure insanity. We also watched “Forrest Gump” and had a good round of some word association game thing.

Supper was amazing - starter was a really nice rice, carrot, brussel sprout and parsley soup and then... pierogies!!! Yesssss!! All I wanted from Poland was pierogies. The platter was a mix of potato ones, sauerkraut and mushroom, and minced meat. The kids are so funny... not a fan of the sauerkraut and they all thought the meat was tuna. Dessert was nice too - a white bread/cake thing with an amazing strawberry creme sauce. Excellent time. Oh! And there was a guy playing the accordion - half the set was modern songs, half seemed more traditional. 😊


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