Monday, December 3, 2012

Trip to Prague

Hey everyone!  First of all, Happy Advent!  I can't believe that Christmas is coming so soon.  We pray that everyone will take time in the upcoming weeks to prepare their hearts for the coming of the Savior.

In other news, it snowed today!  The ground is still a bit too warm for it to stick, but it was really coming down when we woke up this morning.  I'm pretty sure that cold weather is here to stay.  For a while, it had been tricking us, going back and forth between cold weeks and warm weeks, but it seems as though the cold weather won't be going anywhere anytime soon.

Sorry it has been a little while since our last blog update.  The month of November was packed with games! We are undefeated in our Central European league, and we have one loss in Romanian league.  We have some important games coming up in December before we go home for Christmas!

Last week, we traveled to Prague for a Central European league game.  Jen and I have had the opportunity to go to Prague several times, and it is one of our favorite European cities.  We knew that we probably wouldn't have a lot of time to explore the city, but we were sure gonna try.  We left Tuesday morning at about 8:00 am and arrived at about 8:00 pm.  It was a long day on the bus, but it didn't seem too bad.  Jen was in the middle of the second book of the Hunger Games series, and I had downloaded a few podcasts that I was really excited to listen to so we had activities to keep us busy.

On Wednesday morning, we woke up, ate breakfast, and then immediately left to head into the center of the city for a couple hours.  We had to be back at 1:30 for shootaround so we were trying to pack a lot into a little bit of time.  Jen, Kari, Kitsy, Cristina (our trainer), and I left our hotel to go to the train station.  A very sweet man at the hotel we were staying at loaned us 500 Czech crown to buy our train tickets since there were no exchange places near where we were staying.  The train ride into the center of Prague only took about fifteen minutes.  We met some very helpful people on the train who helped us figure out where we should get off.  The last time that Jen and I were in Prague was about 2 years ago, but it was neat to see that we still sort of knew our way around the city.  This turned out to be a good thing since we were working with such little time, we were able to really maximize it by having some sense of where the major landmarks were.

First, we stopped in Wenceslas Square.  It is part of the New Town of Prague, and it is filled with lots of restaurants and shops.  It is also the site of their annual Christmas Market.  The Christmas Market was being set up while we were there, but it wasn't quite finished.  Next, we headed to Old Town.  Old Town is beautiful and historical.  It's one of our favorite parts of Prague.  The last thing that we had time to see was the Charles Bridge.  It connects Old Town Prague with the Prague Castle and all of the other parts of the city across the Vltava River.  The bridge is gorgeous.  It is lined all the way across on both sides with statues depicting events of Jesus' life and death and various saints.  We would have loved to visit the castle and the gorgeous Catheral inside the castle walls, but we had a train to catch!

We headed back the way we came, passing through Old Town.  Kitsy decided to stop at Starbucks for a hot chocolate.  Little did we know that this "quick" stop would take about fifteen minutes!  We ended up having to run the rest of the way to the train station...not the best part of the trip, but the good part is that we made the train :-)  It was a whirlwind tour of the city, but we were very happy that we were able to see it again!

Jen and Kitsy burning off a little energy after lunch :-)

Jen reading the second book in the Hunger Games series


Waiting for the train

This was a nice train...very smooth and quiet

Picture on the train

Nativity in New Town - this is where the Christmas Market will be set up

Wenceslas Square

On our way to Old Town

Old Town - with the famous clock and the beautiful church

Old Town

Jen made a quick stop at Starbucks to get a "blueberry muffin," or at least that's what she told me.  She surprised me later that night with a piece of cheesecake :-)  What a good friend :-)

Reminiscing about old times :-)

In honor of our friend, Hilary Lynch :-)  We met Hilary in Prague 2 years ago while on a free tour around the city.  We have kept in touch with each other's adventures through Facebook :-)

I don't actually know the real name of this church.  We just call it the Adam and Eve church.  We learned on our free tour a couple of years ago that the two towers represent Adam and Eve.  The tower on the left is slightly smaller (Eve), and the tower on the right is slightly bigger (Adam).  There was more to it than that, but that's what stuck with us :-)

Jen and Cristina

Kari with her hot wine

Jen and Kitsy

Getting ready to walk across the Charles Bridge

Kitsy on the bridge - you can see the Cathedral in the background

Taking pictures

View on the bridge

Group picture with St. Vitus Cathedral in the background - Jen and I went to Mass there a couple of years ago.  It was soooo beautiful!  The stained glass was awesome!

Exhausted after running to catch the train

My nice black/purple eye that I got from one of my teammates in practice :-)

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