hey friends – hope you are having a beautiful may! i always enjoy this birthday month and finally shaking the winter cobwebs away, preparing for the fun that will come with spring… especially more travel opportunities, heh. we enjoyed a gorgeous weekend in prague (above, on kampa) to celebrate my birthday but honestly, i’ve been finding that most of the action is right here in south bohemia lately. hoping that in june we’ll have some time to steal away for some adventures.
so! here are a few memorable moments and some things i’ve been into this past month.
1. boat trip!
i’m not exactly a boating novice (i wrote about our kayak trip in sweden and last summer’s paddle down the vltava in a canoe) but this was the first time (besides that white-water rafting trip when i was like ten) boating on the river with a large group, as it was one of the few days of the year that the dam of the normally still malše river is opened and it’s enough to have a good proper paddle.
i cringed as i went over my first weir (we are actually going over them?!?) and completely underestimated how often everyone wanted to stop along the way at a pub (in true czech fashion: there are loooads of pubs lining the river) but i had a fantastic time. it was one of the few times this spring that the weather was above 22°C – very fortunate timing for the last day of april.
2. the icelandic film series
i love film. even more, i love watching films set in cities and places i love. how to cure the excitement leading up to the trip? enter, my self-curated icelandic film series.
i am re-watching some of my favorites and introducing some new ones. we’re four deep so far and i’ve been tweeting extremely short reviews. so far, two were severely heart-wrenching and depressing, one was sort of sad but hopeful, and one was heart-warming and fuzzy. follow the hashtag #icelandicfilmseries to see more one-hundred-and-forty character reviews as they come in! i’d be happy to discuss the films with you more in depth if you want. (photo via)
— Cynthia (@cynthj) May 15, 2016
3. a birthday evening out
on the evening before my birthday, alex and i had a fancy evening out in prague: dinner and a show at the theater. (far cry from my twentieth birthday celebration, i can tell you! how far we’ve all come….) i chose the top-rated vegetarian restaurant (and one of the top five restaurants in the city), etnosvět. it did not disappoint! i had high hopes, and especially after the super-memorable vegan dinner at zest in leipzig two years earlier that knocked my socks off! well, etnosvět was just as good and can highly recommend.
sometimes when you’re dining at a vegetarian restaurant, you get this feeling like you’re not have the full experience just because you don’t want to order a large bloody steak. not so, at this place. we started with the vegan tartare (which is a do not miss! look at those roasted garlic cloves!) and i got some delicious asian noodles with tempeh (typical) while alex tried their massive burger, a huge portion served with homemade fries and coleslaw that looked good enough to satisfy any carnivore.
then off we went to divadlo d21 to catch an english performance of god of carnage, i play i’d heard loads about years ago when it first came onto the circuit and won a tony award. i was a little disappointed with the screenplay as i expected to laugh my head off, but the theater itself and the actors were wonderful. it was such an intimate theater-going experience that you might be spat on or splashed on (lots of props going on) in the first few rows! but i kind of love that. finished the evening off with a few cocktails sitting outdoors in vinohrady on a beautiful warm evening.
4. “how not to die”
one of the books i read this month (killin’ my good reads challenge by the way, how are y’all doing?) was how not to die, by dr. michael greger. this book came highly recommended by drea, whom i trust with most things nutrition, so i knew i had to check it out.
the philosophy behind it is that by changing your diet to one that is fully plant-based, you can change your life and possibly prevent many life-threatening illnesses, especially the biggies of our time like heart disease and diabetes. each chapter is about an illness and the best ways to eat in order to prevent it, all of this backed up by plenty of sources, of course. if you are at all interested in health and nutrition, i can’t recommend it enough. (only criticism: sometimes he suggests not to do things because of one measly study, so use your best judgement)
5. spring, is that you?
although this has probably been the coolest* spring of the four i’ve spent in the czech republic, it has cast its warm glow on us the days it mattered the most (boat trip, birthday) so i can’t say i’m too disappointed! the end-of-year is approaching in about a month’s time now, and i’m so excited for the outdoor life that is to come: majales, outdoor concerts, barbeques, garden parties, nurturing my herb garden, seedlings, and flowers in my tiny garden, getting our first CSA veggie box of the season (!!), all of the class cancellations, and how the city and countryside seem extra magical in the warmer months.
*i recently taught the word cool to my sixth graders to talk about the weather and they wouldn’t stop cracking up because they thought cool was only to describe how something is great, awesome, or brilliant. it’s a real word, okayy?