June 26, 2005

Adventures in Pegnitz and Prague

Monday 20.6

We got up early as Raimund had lectures. Itís almost criminal they have to do Uni still till the end of August in Bavaria, and they always tend to have the exams on weekends. Anyway, I had to say goodbye and head to the train to travel to Krottensee.
3 years ago I did a student exchange for a month in Germany and stayed then in a host family in Krottensee. Their daughter Katrin is roughly about my age and it was fantastic to see her again! We had a good time also at the time I did the exchange but I think it was even a hundred times better this time. I think on the first time we had a bit of a language barrier as I could not follow most things in German. Now we just couldnít stop talking and because it was a hot day we went to a Schwimmbad in Auerbach straight away. Schwimmbads are outdoor-swimming pool areas and typical for Germany. We also went to Auerbach and had a walk around and bought some ice cream. Many of the little ice cream kiosks which make the ice cream themselves, and it is really nice.

Tuesday – Prague 21.6

We visited Prague and Pilsen(officially Plzťn) in Czech Republic. It was a long and exhausting day but it was well worth the effort. We got lost all the time and the road signs were absolutely terrible in Czech Republic. Also it was fun as we didnít know any Czech apart from ďHelloĒ and that obviously doesnít get us very far. Most people knew neither German nor English. I could tell the difference in houses and the scenery as soon as we crossed the border. The houses are not as nicely maintained as in Germany and in many of them, the paint was peeling off and the gardens hadnít been looked after. They had some Finnish shops in Prague like the furniture shop Asko and Rannila, which sells everything needed for building houses etc.
The centre was really beautiful. There is the River Vltava in the middle and then lots of bridges and beautiful buildings. Unlike the other buildings we had seen on the way, the ones in the centre were in nice condition. There were a lot of tourists and I spotted at least 4 Finnish groups just in the centre. We climbed up the hill which overlooks the city and had a stroll in the garden.
We had had to park the car in an indoor car park as we were scared it will be stolen. We got a slip from the machine when we drove in and were supposed to pay at another machine when going out but the instructions were in Czech. Also the machine was presumably broken as it didnít accept our money which was even in the right currency. So we pressed the emergency button on the machine and after a while a scary tall security man came to us. He was wearing a big bulletproof vest and had a walkie-talkie in his hand. We tried to explain the problem but he didnít understand English or German and constantly kept talking to us in Czech even if we obviously didnít have a clue what he was saying. After about 5 minutes another man came there and luckily he knew some English and was able to help us.
We visited Pilsen on the way back and that was an experience. They had a big Street called America, apparently because the city was liberated by the U.S forces during the World War. Also they had lots of electric buses which drive on rails and therefore there was a big rusty rail network above the streets. We went to a bar in Pilsen, and instead of buying Pilsner, the beer that gets its name from this city, we bought some cocktails. They also had Swiss Cannabis Ice Tea, which they were eagerly advertising, but we thought itís better to stick to the cocktails. I guess cannabis is then legal in Czech Republic because otherwise they wouldnít be able to advertise like that. The road signs very incredibly difficult to interpret and it took about 6 hours to drive from Prague back to Krottensee.

Wednesday 22.6

Katrin had the Abischertz, the show organized by all the students who leave the college. Everyone had water guns, with which they were shooting the smaller students. Apparently earlier they used to gather all the small ones together on the schoolyard and make them completely wet using buckets and water balloons but now the principal had forbidden it. After that they had a special show in which they were making fun of their teachers. The teachers had a dancing competition and the principal had dressed up as Elvis Presley and 2 of the teachers as his security men. The principal even sang Elvis, and actually was pretty good. And I once though the German were so serious!

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