The Tale of Two Sisters * Guest Blogger*

First off I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Years or Hezky Novy Rok as we say in the Czech Republic! It has been a hectic start to 2013 but I would definetely rate the year as a 9 out of 10 so far.  Today’s post comes from my sister Nia and it recounts our adventures in Europe. Yay for my first guest blogger! Enjoy!

The coldest place that we went was Prague. Therefore it is only fitting that we began and ended our epic journey there. Despite our impeccable taste and superior organizational system, my sister and I still managed to pack poorly for our 11 day European excursion. But I am getting ahead of myself here. We must start at the beginning and not part way through the tale.

Asha was in charge of planning this entire winter excursion which would take us from Prague✈ Paris  ✈Brussels  ✈ Amsterdam ✈ Prague.

Before we left, I spent a few days in Nymberg exploring the city. The first day, jet lag took over, but on the second day I went into school with Asha. In our first class the kids surprised us by singing christmas carols and making us traditional Czech cookies. They were delicious! Each family has their own secret recipe, so of course we had to try them all. It was a very enjoyable lesson complete with me singing Christmas carols and Asha dancing waltz and jive with her fellow teacher. The rest of the day was also a very joyous occasion that  I enjoyed immensely.

Christmas is different in Prague. For one thing, their traditional dinner included Carp, which they sell in big tanks on the street. Live. When people buy them, they chop their heads off and gut them right then and there. They also have these fabulous Christmas markets that sell lots of knickknacks and food. It is a place full of tradition and Christmas spirit! At our hostel we meet some of the most memorable and interesting people on our trip which was nice. However we also were unfortunate enough to be in a room with an extremely loud female snorer. No bueno. All in all, a great time in the capital city.

Our first stop from Prague was Paris where we pretty much tried to see everything we could in two days. We were actually there longer, but not a lot of things are open on Christmas Day. However, the Eiffel Tower was surprisingly open so we did wake up early to go see that, but it was not the best idea we had on the trip. Our train broke down, we had to wait in a long lines, it was FREEZING. We went to the top but I’m not sure if that was necessary. In addition to the Eiffel Tower we also saw, the Moulin Rouge, went to the Louvre (Di Vinci Codes heey), Notre-Dame and so much more.  We did so much walking, talking, and looking. On the way we also found the vintage stores (thrift stores with jacked up prices) because even in America this is one of our favorite sister activities.

Whoo this blogging thing is a lot of work. Soo here are some of the highlights, memories, and lessons learned from our trip:

  1.  Falafel is the official Jewish Christmas food. We know, because after standing in line after line at the tower, we headed to the Jewish Quarter and saw that people couldn’t get enough of it.
  2. Getting around Paris and NOT being asked to buy a mini Eiffel Tower is not going to happen.
  3. Can we please just find some French onion soup?
  4. Indian food for Christmas dinner should become our new tradition. It smells delicious and tastes yummy.
  5. Speaking of food. Being hungry and wet is not the best way to start a trip to Brussel – Going to an Irish Pub, drinking hot chocolate, eating spaghetti and swapping tales with a local is.
  6. Just so you know. The chocolate in Belgium is excellent. So is the beer.
  7. Keeping with our trend, we pretty much walk all around Brussels, getting lost (why don’t we ever bring a map) and every now and then stumbling on a new area of town. Brussels is a very walkable city. It’s super quaint and has a really nice vibe. It was a nice relaxing change from the harrowing Paris experience.
  8. The B&B that we stayed at in Brussels was lovely. Homey, warm, and with a Christmas tree. It was a great place to while away a rainy afternoon, drinking tea and reading.
  9. Museum of Chocolate is a must if you are in Brussels. However the demonstrations are in French. Lucky for us, chocolate is a universal language!
  10. So running through a city, in the rain, carrying your luggage and trying to make a bus connection is not fun. Obviously.
  11. Postcards should be sent while in the country that you bought them in. That didn’t happen at all during this trip. Sorry people…
  12. Quiet ride from Brussels to Amsterdam. Reading, eating chocolate and chatting. The only way to travel.
  13. Really liked the fact that Asha knew where we were going the entire time and planned everything.
  14. Sisters make the best traveling companions.
  15. Thai food for dinner for our first night in Amsterdam. Gotta love curry and Asha’s awkward facial expressions!
  16. Unusually good music accompanied breakfast at our first B&B in Amsterdam. Dancing and singing had to happen. We had no choice really especially with the likes of Adelle and Motown are playing in the background.
  17. Van Gogh was Dutch, did you know? The exhibit was really sweet!
  18. Wendela (ex co-worker) may be the best Amsterdam tour guide in the world. Red light district, coffee shops, Dutch sweets, post modern Dutch design concepts. Oh yeah, and a private tour of a family art collection that boasted several Rembrandt paintings. All in a days work for Wendela.
  19. Extremely awesome B&B on a boat! Moored right next to Gandalf and Nemo (both other ships on the harbor). Cabins are small but the atmosphere was awesome! We had the best conversation with the boat owner Jesse.
  20. Pasta, and pesto, and cheese, oh my! Why am I always the one to cook? (Although Asha’s pad thai that Asha made in Nymburk WAS pretty good).
  21. At the year’s end we made it back in Prague and had Indian food for dinner. Maybe it will be come a holiday tradition!
  22. Apparently fireworks are legal in the Czech Republic. With all the drinking and partying going on, they really shouldn’t be. We saw someone throw a broom across a street for no reason, pee on the side of the building, and try to light a firework. Happy New Year? Yeaaaa time to go home.

After a night full of fireworks and sisterly words of appreciation, we took a relaxing train ride back to Nymburk. Our mini European trip was over. We spent the next few days watching Awkward Black Girl, eating delicious Czech food at Asha’s mentors house, snuggling in our ugly Christmas sweaters, and spending some quality time together. After 16 days in Europe I headed home, and back to work. What an adventure!