Tag Archives: peacock

Long weekend, long time coming….Prague, Czechia

Don’t let the name Czechia confuse you.  It is the new official English name of the country we all know as Czech Republic.  But nobody uses it, yet.

We booked this flight 4 months in advance, which is a long time ahead, especially for us.  Swiss Air was having a crazy sale and we couldn’t pass it up.  So we had 4 months to plan, well Riki did, as this was my birthday present from last year, which included all the planning. Therefore, the itinerary consisted mainly of viewpoints, amazing Czech beer and hearty food.  Luckily, I am down for all of those things.

We arrived in the evening and proceeded to wander a bit to find food, and you guessed it, beer.  Prague is full of old cellars, as the city frequently flooded and they decided just to raise the street level and use the upper floor as the ground floor.  We found these cool basements all over town.

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First night beer
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Cellar under the bar with a photography exhibit
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Old Town Square
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Door leading to a surprisingly nice place, in a cellar

We spent five days just wandering, searching for viewpoints, good beer and heavy food.  Besides a tour of the Strahov Monastery library and the Town Hall, we were walking the neighborhoods and checking out the sights the whole time.  Luckily, the weather cooperated.

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Cathedral and castle from across the Vltava River
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Boats on the Vltava

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Tram, type 1
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Powder Tower – one of the old city gates.  Used to store gunpowder, hence the name.

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Jewish cemetery – the largest in Europe
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Tram, type 2
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Giant metronome in Letna Park, where a huge statue of Stalin used to stand
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View of Charles Bridge from Metronome
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Lots of bridges
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Mala Strana metro station

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Monastery side yard where we had more excellent beer
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Cathedral and castle at night

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Sgraffito at the Schwarzenberg Palace

 

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Changing of the guard
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Too many camera phones 😦
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Lennon Wall
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This chick had her photo taken in every pose imaginable

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Charles Bridge from below
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Piss Sculpture – two gyrating men peeing on a map of Czechia
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Prague’s narrowest street has a traffic light for alternating directions

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Giant bronze babies
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Cruising in the river
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Tram, type 1 again and the National Theater
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Riverfront
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Question mark dock
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Dancing House by Vlado Milunic and Frank Gehry

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At the entrance to the Dancing House
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Cathedral and palace from the top of the Dancing House

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An excellent dark beer complete with accordion music

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The Hanging Man by David Cerny
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View of Church of Our Lady Before Tyn and Old Town Square

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Elevator to the top of the Old Town Hall Tower
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Prague is full of indoor walkways
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The Dead Horse, also by David Cerny

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Rotating 42 layer sculpture of Franz Kafka, also by David Cerny

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I think Riki got as many pictures of these two as the guy they hired
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Astronomical Clock
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See? Here they are again across town.

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Just wandered into a park where there happened to be peacocks, lots of them.

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Albino peacock
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The Original
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More good beer from a Monastery
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Inside the Strahov Library
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Petrified Dodo bird.  And other “Curiosities”

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Cathedral at the top of the hill

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Golden Lane inside the castle walls where the marksmen initially lived.

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Kafka apparently wrote here for two years.

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Charles Bridge
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Astronomical Clock
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Another peacock
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Apostles from the inside of the Astronomical Clock, who we watched do their dance at noon.
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Amazing stained glass in the Old Town Hall
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Cellar under the Old Town Hall
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Another section of the Old Town Hall Cellar

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Fireworks preceding Wenceslas Day from Old Town Bridge Tower

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 Our last day was Wenceslas Day, which commemorates his death in 935.  He was the patron saint of Bohemia, so it is a national holiday in Prague, but besides the fireworks, we didn’t see much going on.

Prague has been on the top of my list for a long time and it did not disappoint.  Were I one to take photos of my food, those would be included here too.  We ate goulash and dumplings and bread and cheese, and not a lot of green stuff.  It was great.

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Our final days, Part 2….Kuching, Borneo, Malaysia

Here is part 2 of our time in Kuching, Borneo, Malaysia. We have a flight tomorrow from Kuala Lumpur to Zurich, via Istanbul. But first we have to fly from Kuching to Kuala Lumpur – a short flight we booked on a budget airline. Rather than go to KL early, we decided to stay in Kuching until the last possible day as our flight to Zurich is not until almost midnight. We did this partly because its cheaper to stay in Kuching, but also because just the thought of having to take the bus one hour to downtown KL and then the monorail to a hostel and then back to the airport is exhausting. That’s how tired we are.

We need a break. Some might scoff at this and say we’ve been on vacation for the last 275 days. And while they are right, it is a vacation, it is also mentally and physically exhausting. We are both as skinny as we’ve ever been in our adult lives and even getting these blogs done can be grueling (but that’s mostly due to electronic issues and the incredible amount of time it can take to get pictures uploaded, in the right place and then captioned – oh, and that doesn’t count the edits I promptly receive from my father).

But that has not stopped us from enjoying the last few days we have in Kuching. We have wandered the streets: shopping, eating and soaking it all in. It’s a great small city, with friendly people, good food and free museums.

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Kuching is known as “Cat City” – so there are quite a few statues
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More cats
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Big elephant ears

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Mosque
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On ice

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Big & tiny bananas

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Mosque again
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Kuching Assembly Building

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Top of a temple

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On a whim, we decided to bus out to a crocodile farm. On the bus, we were the main attraction. Everyone wanted to know where we were going, and why. Good thing I brought the brochure. They very kindly guided us to the right stop, which we probably would have missed. Not realizing the bus would take over an hour, we arrived a bit late, but just in time for the afternoon feeding. Which was incredible. I have never seen reptiles this large, and while they are in captivity, many of them have large habitats. We watched as two brave men tied chicken pieces to a pulley system and hung them out over the water. Then we waited as salt water crocodiles from every direction started emerging from sunning themselves. The quick and agile ones were able to jump up for the meat, which was promptly replaced for the next croc.

A miss
A miss
Success!
Success!
Fighting crocodiles
Fighting crocodiles

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Camo-croc
Camo-croc

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Baby saltwater crocodiles
Baby saltwater crocodiles

Then we saw a mega-croc waddle up out of the water and begin harassing the men for chicken. This guy could have swallowed me whole and maybe Riki too. He was so big he couldn’t jump very high but the loud thomp as he smacked his mouth closed was incredibly impressive.

Mega-croc
Mega-croc
Mega-croc & brave men
Mega-croc & brave men

The crocodile feeding was followed by an Arapaima feeding, in another pond. Arapaimas are the largest freshwater fish and they can be up to 6.5 feet. They were eating chicken heads whole. I really wanted to ask somebody how many chickens they go through in day.

Arapaimas
Arapaimas

There were a few other animals there as well: bearded pigs, owls, macaques, eagles, deer, peacocks and porcupines, as well as some smaller lizards and birds. We had to rush back to ensure we caught the last bus back to town, as we didn’t want to get stuck an hour away.

Pretty bird
Pretty bird
Posing with the peacock
Posing with the peacock
Porcupine
Porcupine
Freshwater crocodile
Freshwater crocodile – note the skinnier nose compared to the saltwater ones
Buffy fish owl (formerly known to us as puffy faced owl - lost in translation)
Buffy fish owl (formerly known to us as puffy faced owl – lost in translation)

The rest of our days were spent shopping, comparing steam bun places and discovering Ramadan bazaars. Ramadan, a month of fasting for Muslims, has just begun. As Malaysia is a largely Muslim country, we have seen signs popping up in the past few days advertising food and bazaars. The vendors have brought out their tupperware and sell everything from curry to vegetables to a number of jello-esque bars we have yet to taste. Muslims are not supposed to eat from sunrise to sunset, but the food is for sale most of the day and we have delighted in getting curry puffs by the half-dozen for take away. The most I have experienced Ramadan before was working at a Mediterranean place in New Orleans and preparing for the large groups who would come in and order everything off the menu. Which is what you’d expect from someone who hasn’t eaten all day. Seeing it here, firsthand is just another thing we have been lucky enough to experience.

This is my last Asia post, but don’t worry, there is more to come. We have been preparing some final thoughts and wrap up posts. And since we still don’t know what we’re really doing with our lives, I’m sure there will be more adventures to report. Suggestions are being taken, as are job offers and life coaching.