• Austria,  Christmas,  Daily Life,  Life Abroad,  Travel,  Winter

    A Surprise Vienna

    last friday morning, my landlord, martin (who lives in the flat below me) knocked on my door, inquiring whether or not we were free to join a day-trip to vienna the next day, as there were two free seats in his van. ….so, that was a no-brainer. české budějovice is fascinatingly only a two and a half hour drive from vienna and the idea of going there only for the day was blowing my mind! as in: i live somewhere where i can visit vienna. for the day. and then come home and go to sleep. so began what seemed like two days worth of sights packed into one, waking up…

  • Christmas,  czech culture,  Daily Life,  Life Abroad,  South Bohemia,  Winter

    Jindřichův Hradec (or as we call it, Henry Castle)

    i haven’t even begun to write and i’m getting distracted by czech kids singing “we wish you a merry christmas”, echoing in the hallway. adorable. CHRISTMAS IS COMING, PEOPLE! HOOBOY! it shows in the amount of lessons i’ve been having lately (ehhh…. 10 out of the normal 15 per week) because of cancellations galore. but that’s alright since it gives me ample time to do what’s important in life, like bake cookies! make homemade decorations! write this blog post! cook dinner! and visit the town square, which is an absolute hot-spot of yuletide activity right now. i can’t walk by it without wanting a glorious vanoci punč– the aroma always…

  • Prague,  Winter


    i sometimes do things on the weekends like walk around charles bridge and take in the amazing lit up architecture of mala strana. drink dark unfiltered beer in some nice friendly pub in hradcanska with friends. going to america bar on america street in vinohrady. explore new streets that used to be unfamiliar to me. refresh my memory of what tram routes go which places.  take a nice foggy morning walk to the starbucks at ip pavlova for a gingerbread latte. i do these things and love life. and this view will never get old. (photos from walking home, last january)

  • Autumn

    Passau Passt – An Autumn Bavaria Trip

    we had a three day weekend thanks to czech national day! three day weekends are just made for trips. so we went to bavaria to a lovely little city on the SE german/austrian border called passau. passau is a small city in south-eastern bavaria (at approx 50,000 it has only half the population of ceske budejovice) and is only a four hour train ride away, with a change in linz, austria. (a great reminder of why living in europe is so wonderful and always exciting: getting anywhere in a short amount of time!) i wanted to go to passau because during my prior travels in germany (which are admittedly quite…

  • Summer,  Travel

    Kayaking in Sweden

    i’ve kayaked once, in seattle’s lake union with my friend julie. the water there was blue, the paddling was hard– after a few minutes we both sort of just stopped because it was getting in the way of talking! but in a lake you feel very protected. after hearing kayaking stories from alex’s boss, marketa, i was determined to kayak in the stockholm archipelago! which is good…. because on a tiny island, there really isn’t a lot more to do! there’s as much walking and sunset watching as you can handle, but i really wanted to do something a bit adventurous and memorable. i asked at the cute little surf…

  • Berlin,  Summer,  Travel

    A Surprise Berlin

    when i returned from sweden, i had no intention of planning any more international trips this summer. but SURPRISE! i ended up planning an impromptu berlin weekend: summer’s last gasp. and it was a fabulous weekend to be in my lieblingsstadt: gorgeous weather and plenty going on.  i’d only been in berlin for the summer once (2008) for a few days and fell in love with the buzz and energy i never quite fully felt when living there in the fall and winter months. winter in berlin can honestly feel like the darkest coldest place you can imagine that can make you want to hole-up in your flat drinking A&P…

  • Summer,  Thoughts,  Travel

    Grinda Island

    hello! i have returned from sweden yesterday. deciding not to post or really spend that much time online was a conscious decision so i could spend all of my time in the moment. and i am so happy i did! sweden felt very familiar to me– it was friendly, welcoming… and even their word for “hello” is “hej” so it sounds like everyone is greeting you like a friend: “hey!” instead of the formal “dobry den” (good day) that i’m used to here. first i wanted to share about one of my absolute favorite parts of the last eleven days… i stayed in a cozy cabin on a little island called…

  • Austria,  Summer,  Travel,  TravelTips

    Camping in Hallstatt

    spent an amazing three nights camping in the salzkammergut lake district of austria on the hallstätter see (lake hallstatt). hallstatt is a tiny village crammed on the edge of a mountain right on the huge beautiful blue and green lake, with crystal clear glacier water. i wanted a decompress-relax holiday and i got it! walking back to the campground there was a lot of this! pretty as a postcard what says holiday like ice cream cones? in mein neues hut! the bone chapel– over 1200 skulls, half of them lovingly painted with pictures to represent characteristics of how the person was in life. started due to the small size of…

  • Czech Republic,  Karlovy Vary,  Summer,  Travel

    Vary Good Times

    hello friends. i’ve just been to karlovy vary for one of my most anticipated trips of this summer– the karlovy vary international film festival! i am a film festival addict. from the very first summer i lived in seattle (2005) i have been involved with SIFF; first as a patron, then volunteered, and finally interned for three years in guest relations.  i count down the days until the film festival catalog comes out every year, and then spend hours poring over the films and making a detailed color-coded google calendar. this year was the most special because: i’m not working!!! no job to go to, just as many films as i…

  • Summer

    If you can’t SIFF, KVIFF

    getting ready to depart on saturday morning for karlovy vary, a well-known spa town in north-west czech republic for KVIFF: the karlovy vary international film festival– when the sleepy little town pulls out all the stops and rolls out the red carpet for big names like oliver stone, john travolta, michel gondry and more. it’s one of the oldest (if not the oldest) int’l lfilm festival in the world which began in 1946. for more than forty years, the festival had been under intense political pressure of the communist government, showing only pro-communist and USSR films. today it has become the most important annual film event in central and eastern europe. not…