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Day 4: Amsterdam, Netherlands to Paris, France

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

semi-overcast 13 °C

My train from Amsterdam, Netherlands to Paris, France left at 8:16am on the morning on Wednesday, July 4th, 2012 and arrived at 11:35am of the same day. I would be traveling by high-speed train, for roughly 3 hours and 19 minutes, and my ticket cost me €78.00. Traveling by train was an enjoyable experience, as I was able to view the beautiful scenery from nearly ground level, as opposed to flying thousands of feet above the landscapes. Luckily, I had a window seat, which meant that I had my head virtually plastered to the window of the train for the entire journey, and the man sitting next to me didn't speak a word of English (he didn't seem too interested in conversing, anyway, haha). I snapped entirely too many photos of the wonderful European landscapes, and when we arrived in Paris, I almost didn't want to get off the train.

I took a taxi from the train station to my accommodations, the Jardin de Villiers hotel, where I paid 98 Euros per night. I loved conversing with the desk attendant due to his attractive French accent, haha! The hotel is located near Paris's Arc de Triomphe, and various other sites which I planned to visit that day. I settled in to my room, which I couldn't wrap my head around it being only 3-star, due to the beauty of the interior, freshened up a bit, and then eagerly set out on what I've always thought was going to be my favourite country I'd visit on my dream trip around the world.

The first site I visited was the world famous monument, the Arc de Triomphe, only a short walk from my hotel. The minute I laid eyes on it, I couldn't help but bust into tears, as I have been studying and focusing on this piece of architecture in my art history courses since I was a young teenager. To see it in the flesh (or stone, more precisely) in absolutely indescribable. The years of history and monumental importance of this arch was insurmountable to anything I had witness thus far on my trip. I was struggling to regain my composure, as a kind local offered to take my photo in front of it. They must have noticed I was alone on the trip, and that witnessing the arch was having a profound effect on me. I was so full of gratitude, and began to understand what the draw toward Paris is; not only the thousands of famous and important sites that are found there, but the genuine people that the city also homes. I spent a decent chunk of time walking around the Arc de Triomphe, touching it, and trying get a grasp on the velocity of what I was currently experiencing. I knew I had to move on, but leaving that historic site was tough for me.. That is, until I remembered where my next stop for the day was.

Not too far from where I had just come, is the Musee d'Orsay, a world-famous museum that homes arguably the best collection of Impressionist paintings in the world. Admission to the museum cost me €14, (although I likely would have handed over my first born child to enter. Kidding.. sort of.) Guided tours of the museum were available, but again I decided that I would enjoy being able to focus on what I really wanted to see, rather than having to follow along with a group. It would probably have been a good idea for anyone without a background in art and art history to take the guided tour, but I found that I knew the majority of the pieces, artists, and generally information about the works found in the Musee d'Orsay years before ever stepping foot into it. Once again, I found myself covered in goosebumps, and on the verge of tears as I made my way through the museum, witnessing most of the paintings and works that I have dedicated a great while to learning about, and drawing inspiration from for years. I spent an upwards of 2 hours walking around in a complete trance at even being within the confines of the Musee d'Orsay, let alone the things that hung on the walls. Eventually, I had to pry myself from my enveloped state of awe, and move on to the next, equally mind-blowing site.

Before making my way to the incredible Musee de Louvre, I decided to grab something quick and simple to eat, as I didn't want to waste one moment of my time in Paris, France. I found a small, family owned restaurant, the name of which I couldn't (and didn't even try to) pronounce, and had, as far as I'm concerned, the best bowl of spaghetti and meatballs, with a side of garlic cheese loaf to be found anywhere on the face of the earth. It cost me roughly 14 Euros, a little steep, but I was anticipating the hike in prices when I arrived in France, and to be honest, I would have easily handed over my second born child for another chance to taste authentic Parisian cuisine like that, again.

After gulping down my incredible French lunch, I virtually ran to the Musee de Louvre. I couldn't contain my excitement while purchasing a ticket for only €9.00! Once again, I chose to tour the museum myself, in order to avoid the crowds, and see what I truly wanted to. The architecture itself of this world-famous museum blew me away, but once I got in to the works that are housed in the Louvre, I couldn't have been more awe-struck. At par with the Musee d'Orsay, the Lourve also homes some of the best known art works in the world, including the Mona Lisa and Venus De Milo! Photos were strictly forbidden within the museum, in order to avoid damaging the works with flash photography, but I will hold the images of all that I was lucky enough to have seen in my mind forever.

The next site that I wanted to visit while in Paris, France was the Notre Dame Cathedral, once again, only a short distance from my hotel, and the Louvre. This ultra-famous cathedral has a very rich historical significance to the city, and is another piece of Gothic architecture that I had learned a great deal about before ever witnessing it in person. It is hard to wrap your head around the intricacy of the architecture found both on the outside and inside of the building. I snapped quite a few photos, as I knew this was something I would never again get a chance to witness.

I made a short stop to view the River Seine, a world-renowned river that has been featured in a variety of art works, as well as media pieces with the coming of such technology. The river flows from east to west through the heart of the city and divides Paris's left and right banks. There were boat tours available, but I felt that it would have eaten up too much time, and even standing on the bridge above the body of water sent shivers down my spine. I still couldn't believe where I was.. The beauty of the river, and the landscape of Paris was almost too much to describe.

The next site I felt the need to visit while touring around the beautiful city of Paris was Sacred Heart Basilica, located in Sacre-Coeur, 3.4 kilometers from the center of the city. I took a short taxi ride, and discussed the beauty of the city, as well as much of the local folklore with my cab driver, who was fairly fluent in English. Like much of what I had witnessed that day, the volume of the Basilica was unbelievable. It costs me only €5.00 to enter, as well as visit the crypts, which were of equal intricacy. I thought back to sitting in class in the 9th or 10th grade, and learning all about the history of this religious site, and wishing one day that I'd be lucky enough to see it in person. I would have liked to have taken thousands of photos of both the interior and exterior of the church, but had to save room on my memory card for all the other fantastic destinations I was about to witness. To tell you all the truth, though, I guarantee the photos still wouldn't have done any of what I witnessed that day justice. Even now, my memories will never compare to the real thing.

Before making my way back toward the heart of the city, where I had a few more things to see before hitting the hay, I decided that I HAD to squeak in time to visit the Salvadore Dali museum, located a short walk from the Sacred Heart Basilica. Once again, I was unable to contain my emotions as I viewed works made by my all-time favourite and biggest artistic inspiration, Salvadore Dali. The countless drawings, sketches, paintings, and sculptures that I had seen so many times in textbooks were now feet away from me. I'll never be able to express how lucky I feel to have witnessed all that I was able to, even just within the Dali exhibition in Paris.

I then made my way back toward the city centre to visit the Pantheon, yet another site I had studied and yearned to see in person for many years. I was in awe of how beautiful the Pantheon remained despite being centuries of years old. Admission cost me €8.5, which I was more than glad to pay, and photos were permitted, so I took full advantage of that opportunity. It wasn't as busy there as I had expected, so there were no obnoxious crowds, and we were all free to explore as we wished.

It was nearing 10:30 pm when I made it to my final destination in my favourite city I had visited thus far in Paris, the Eiffel Tower. As I approached it at night, it was more beautiful that I ever could have imagined. It was light up, along with the rest of the city, to a degree that would likely make even the weariest traveler feel at home. It cost me roughly €11.50 to get a pass to climb to the very top, and I'm so glad that I did. The view from the top of the Eiffel Tower at night is something that I don't think any words will do justice to. This time, I was not the only one bawling my eyes out, as a marriage proposal was going on directly behind me. Standing at the top of MY world, trying to grasp all of what I had seen and done so far on my dream trip around the world, I realized that I'll be back one day, when the person I marry realizes that the only proposal that will suite me will be at the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. Even typing this out now, I am misty-eyed. I recommend that every single human being living on Earth visits the things I was able to on my trip around the world. It will change you forever.

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Posted by PublicRelationz 07:58 Archived in France Comments (0)

Day 6: Prague, Czech Republic to Berlin, Germany

Friday, July 6th, 2012

sunny 19 °C

My flight from Prague, Czech Republic to Berlin, Germany takes off at 8:10 am on the morning of Friday, July 6th, 2012 and lands at 9:15 am of the same day. My plane ticket cost €145.00, and unfortunately, this time I didn't have a window seat, so I chose to sleep for the one hour flight. Once we had landed, I took a taxi from the airport to my German accommodations, the Upstalsboom Hotel Friedrichshain, located in downtown Berlin. My room was quite lovely, and I was charged only €94 per night. One I settled in, changed my clothes, and had a quick snack from the in-hotel restaurant, I was ready to embark upon my sight-seeing journey around the beautiful city of Berlin.

My first stop was the Deutsches Historisches Museum, which translates into the German History Museum, only roughly 1.5 kilometers from my hotel. Admission was a fair €15, and tour groups were available at no cost. I decided to take one of the English translated guided tours, solely because if I were to try to explore this glorious museum on my own, I likely wouldn't get too far, as everything was written and presented in German. Throughout the tour, our group learned a great deal about the heritage and history of Germany, much of which was not common knowledge. I found that a great deal of the German culture is overlooked due to the country's involvement in WWII, and there truly is a lot to learn and explore, considering that Germany was a country, rich in history, long before WWII. The tour of the German History Museum left our group with a reinvigorated sense of German pride, despite the fact that I am virtually the furthest thing from German myself, haha.

My next stop for the day was the Dokumentationszentrum Berliner Mauer, or Berlin Wall Memorial. I had to take a cab to this location, because it's located roughly 10 kilometers from the city center, where I had just come from. Admission on to the grounds was free, and although the majority of the literature and information is in German, everyone visiting knew just what they were experiencing. I was also lucky enough to be able to view a short film about the history of the Berlin Wall, and its destruction. I took advantage of the opportunity to climb a look-out tower from which you can view a section of the Berlin Wall, giving me a clear idea about just how large the wall really was. The last thing I did before making my way back toward the city center for some lunch was spend some time in the extensive photo gallery, which really brought home the entire experience. I purchased a small piece of the Berlin Wall from the information center, and then said my silent goodbyes to what remains of the wall that meant and continues to mean so much.

When I arrived back near the heart of Berlin, I had built up quite the appetite, so I decided to grab a quick lunch at a local eatery called Altes Europa. It was a quaint little cafe style restaurant, where I ordered and received the most delicious dish, knödel, (dumplings) baked with mushrooms and spinach, which was only a mere €5! I learned quickly that the consistency of German food leaves anyone very, very full. All I wanted to do after finishing my first authentic German meal was roll over, and take a nap! But I knew I had to move on quickly, if I was to pack everything that I set out to into one fun-filled day!

My next stop was something I had been looking forward to since I began planning this dream trip around the world. I was headed to the Brohan Museum, located roughly 7 kilometers outside of the heart of Berlin. This museum is home to the works of Professor Karl H. Brohan, one of Germany's most decorated artists. Here, I witnessed the largest collection of Brohan pieces anywhere in the world, which was a great treat for me, as his art deco style is something I have tried to interpret and use as inspiration for various pieces of my own art work. Admission into this museum was € 9.50, but I easily would have paid more to be able to see and learn all that I did while visiting this important German site. There were guided tours available, even in English, but I chose to tour around the museum on my own, as much of the explanation mantles were also presented in English, and because I already knew so much about the life and works of Karl H. Brohan from my art and art history studies back home. I left this museum with all of my artistically saavy friends and teachers in mind, knowing that they would have loved to have been able to accompany me to this nearly surreal exhibition of Brohan works.

I hailed a taxi from the Brohan museum that took me directly to Tierpark, otherwise known as the sole Zoo located in Berlin. It's roughly 8.4 kilometers outside of the heart of the city, and admission to the zoo cost me an unbelievably low €2! I was more than excited to be able to compare the species and overall layout of this German zoo to the many I have encountered in my time. The Tierpark is home to more than 600 species of animals, and has one of the largest and most beautiful aquariums I have ever seen! I spent a decent chunk of time wandering around, and seeing all there was to see, and learn about different the species the zoo is home to. Although I had a quite satisfying and filling lunch back in the city center, not too long ago, I found myself feeling peckish again, so I grabbed a delicious link sausage on a bun from a vender within the Tierpark.

I headed back toward the direction of my hotel, and made my way to my next stop, the Berliner Dom, or Berlin Cathedral. Approaching this glorious homage to intricate architecture, I felt goosebumps crawl up my arms and legs. Even the hundreds of photos I snapped while visiting the cathedral do it absolutely no justice. I felt as though I was in a dream while only walking around the exterior of the gorgeous building. Admission into the main atrium of the cathedral cost me €8.00, and it was an additional €5.00 to enter the crypts, which I decided I had to do. There are no words to describe the beauty of the interior building, but luckily enough for me, photos were permitted both inside and outside the massive building. I, along with virtually everyone else visiting the Berlin Cathedral that day, seemed entirely entranced in its beauty and mystery of the crypts. It was getting fairly late in the evening, so I decided that it was about time to head to my last stop of the day, and then make my way back toward my accomodations, for a quick bite to eat, and a good night's rest.

Yet another cab took me roughly 6 kilometers outside of the city centre to my final German destination, the Story of Berlin Museum. The admission was a mere €8.00, and had I known I would be welcomed by the world's loveliest tour guide, I easily would have forked over more cash. The guided tour of the museum focused entirely on the history and heritage of the city of Berlin, and gave insight into it's beginnings, as well as where the citizens and government hopes to see it expand in the future. I was glad I chose to save this site as the last of my sight-seeing in Germany, as it certainly gave me a much greater appreciation of the city I had just spent a long day in. Being at the Story of Berlin Museum definitely is something that I recommend for anyone visiting the beautiful city, and I left feeling slightly German-er for the experience.

After a long day of sight-seeing and adventuring around gorgeous Berlin, Germany, it was nearly time for me to hit the hay once again. I decided against grabbing something to eat in the hotel atrium, because, let's face it, I was too darn tired. All of this traveling the exploring different parts of the world in such a short span of time was beginning to take a toll on me. Soon enough, I was fast asleep on my goose feather German pillow, dreaming dreams of my next destination, Rome!

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Posted by PublicRelationz 17:00 Archived in Germany Tagged berlin Comments (0)

Day 7: Berlin, Germany to Rome, Italy

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

sunny 27 °C

My flight from Berlin, Germany to Rome, Italy took off at 6:15 am the morning on Saturday, July 7th, 2012 and landed at 9:28am the same morning. My plane ticket cost me roughly €78.00, and I was pleased to find out that I was lucky enough to have another window seat. Due to the hour at which I had to wake up in order to check out of my hotel, eat breakfast, and get to the airport on time, I found myself dozing in and out of consciousness, while trying to take in all of the beautiful scenery from the window view. When we landed in the beautiful city of Rome, I was more than excited to begin my fantastic Italian adventures!

A short cab ride from the airport took me to my accommodations for the night, the Morgana Hotel, located at the heart of the city center, a short walking distance from many popular tourist destinations in Rome. I was charged roughly €107.00 for the night, but this was by far, the most luxurious hotel I had stayed in yet, on my dream trip around the world. After exploring my hotel room, and snapping a few photos from my beautiful view from the window, I was ready to embark upon what I knew was going to be another one of my favourite European destinations!

My first stop was the Pantheon, which shares the same name as a site I had visited in France, only a few days ago. This was another special experience for me because again, this was something that I had studied and dreamed of visiting in person, for many years. Approaching the Pantheon, I was blown away by the sole volume of the building itself. The architecture is certainly something that would leave anyone in complete and utter awe, and I found myself in tears by the time I reached the area where the steps used to be, so many years ago. My entire life seemed to come to a head when I had a hand on one of the pillars of the Pantheon, and once again had to ask someone near by to snap a photo of me, once I regained my composure. The history and impact of what I was experiencing was something that sent shivers down my spine, and I couldn't believe just how far I had come thus far on the trip. It was a teary goodbye when I finally had to pry myself away, but I knew that everything else I was going to do and see that day was well worth the heartache I experienced when leaving the gorgeous Pantheon.

My next stop wasn't too far away from where I had just come, a short cab ride took me directly to the Colosseum, and once again, I found myself an absolute wreck for the first little while I was there. It cost me €12 to enter, and I gladly would have paid a great deal more to be able to experience all that I did in the short while I was there. I knew that this was one of the most frequently visited tourist destinations in Rome, but I had no idea the velocity of people that would really be there at one time. It was almost difficult to get around, and see everything that I wanted to, but I wouldn't let the amount of people visiting dampen my spirits, at all. All that meant in my mind was that the hundreds of people that were there were just as excited and intrigued into the beauty and history of the Colosseum as I was, and we were all sharing in the experience together! I took countless photos of the various views of the monumental building, and was sure to purchase a great deal of souvenirs, both for myself and for loved ones, because this was likely the only chance I'd ever get to visit the Colosseum, and I made sure I made the most of it! I was finding that leaving each of the sites I visited in Rome was becoming increasingly difficult, solely due to the fact that I was enjoying myself too much!

Another short cab ride took me to the much anticipated (by me) National Gallery of Modern Art! It cost me €8.00 for admission into the gallery, and I decided to tour around on my own, in order to see as much as possible in the time that I had there. The National Gallery of Modern Art houses over 1,500 works from contemporary artists, dating back as far as the early 19th century. I was blown away at the amount of recognizable art found within the gallery walls, and nearly broke down again as I realized that within the last 7 days, I had viewed, in person, virtually ALL of the art works that I have idolized and pulled inspiration from since I was a young teenager. I spent nearly 3 hours in the museum, and by that time I had worked up quite the appetite, so I decided to head back toward the city center, and see if I could find some authentic Italian cuisine, something I had been looking forward to the entire trip!

I stumbled upon a restaurant called 'Ai Tre Scalini', where I was welcomed with open arms by the staff, and had quite a few lovely conversations about my travels, and the wonderful city in which I was now ordering a late lunch. I sat at a table on the patio, as I was just eating up the great Italian climate, and ended up ordering a dish with radicchio and cheese-stuffed zagnolotti (small ravioli) in a lobster sauce. It seemed as though every time I sat down at a restaurant on this trip, the meal was even better than the one I had previously enjoyed! The wonderfully plated and tasting dish cost me a total of €14.00, and again, I would have gladly paid a great deal more for such a mouth-wateringly delicious dish!

I decided to finish off my Italian adventures with what I considered to be a perfect way; I visited the church site where my grandmother and grandfather first laid eyes on each other, the San Giorgio in Velabro. It's not one of the most tourist traveled sites in Rome, which was enjoyable. I knew that this was not only an important historical and heritage site in Italian culture, but it is also very prominent and important in terms of my family lineage. From the time I was a little girl, my grandmother told me about how she and my grandfather had met at the most romantic, and elegant places possible, out of sheer chance, at a basilica in wonderful Rome, Italy. She was traveling with her university class to various European destinations, much like I was, although on my own, when she literally ran into a handsome young man, who didn't seem the slightest bit irritated by her clumsiness. They began talking, hit it off, and when they realized that they had both come from the Ottawa area, back home, the rest quickly became history. It was a wonderful and super meaningful experience to have been able to visit the stop where my grandparents met, and I was once again in tears from the fact that had they not bumped into eachother on the steps of the church I was now standing on, I wouldn't have ever been born, let alone standing on the same steps. I didn't let my grandmother know that I was visiting this area while on my travels, and couldn't wait to show her the photos of her granddaughter in front of San Giorgio Basilica.

After finishing off my Italian adventures with something that I think means more than even the things I have studied and idolized for years, I was ready for bed, and made my way back to the hotel for some shut eye. I had a delicious pasta dish in the restaurant that was attached to the hotel, and fell asleep that night dreaming of my long trip back to some form of familiarity, Washington, DC!

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Posted by PublicRelationz 17:00 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Day 5: Paris, France to Prague, Czech Republic

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

semi-overcast 16 °C

My flight from Paris, France to Prague, Czech Republic took off at at 8:25am on the morning on Thursday, July 5th, 2012 and landed at 10:05 am of the same day, meaning that I had to be packed, fed, checked out of my hotel, and at the airport by 6:00am. It was a fairly long wait at the airport, but I was too busy day dreaming about all that I had done and seen in the days prior to be irritated by the airport experience. We boarded the plane, and to my surprise I had another window seat, which I loved. My travel agent back home certainly had my back! I was slightly less impressed when two young children sat beside me on the plane, and made sort of a ruckus, but it was only an hour and fourty minute flight, so it wasn't as bad as it could have been. We were flying on a Boeing 737-700 narrow-bodied jet, and my ticket had cost me only 78 Euros.

Once we landed, I took a taxi from the airport to my hotel, the Euroagentur Hotel, located in downtown Prague. To stay the night, it cost me roughly 98 Euros, and is located in the Nove Mesto neighborhood, close to Czech National Museum, Prague State Opera, and Wenceslas Square. I really enjoyed my room at this hotel, because upon jumping on to the bed, I discovered that this was certainly the comfiest mattress I'd encountered on the trip so far, along with the pillows. A good night's rest makes a world of difference while traveling. Once I settled in to my hotel, I set out on my exploration of the wonderful city of Prague, Czech Republic.

The first site I set out to see was once again, another zoo. Entrance into the Prague Zoo was €8.75, and it's home to over 450 different species of wildlife! I absolutely love experiencing the different atmosphere of zoos all over the world, and while one would think there would be a great deal of difference from the species that are inhabited there, or even simply the enclosures, I've found that zoos around the world are generally the same, but perhaps seem to be getting more and more exquisite with each one that I visit. The Prague Zoo is the oldest in Czech Republic, and offers many different interactive activities for kids and adults alike! I had a great time at the Prague Zoo, although I wished I could have stayed a little while longer, and brought all of my younger cousins along with me, to share in the experience.

A short cab ride took me toward what is known as the Castle District of Prague, Czech Republic. It homes more than 116 beautifully restored cathedrals and castles, and the great thing about visiting the district is that it's absolutely free to roam around. The architecture found in this area struck me as obviously very intricate and gorgeous, but slightly different than that of any other European destination I had visited thus far. There were opportunities to climb various observation decks and towers in order to achieve the best view overlooking the area; all of which I took full advantage of! My camera's memory card was getting fairly full after only a short visit to the Castle District, and I had to restrain myself from snapping photos every time something caught my eye. There was just too much to see, it was slightly overwhelming.

Literally about a five minute walk from the famous and glorious Castle District of Prague, the State Opera is found. Due to the fact that the restored building is continually used for various performances, the interior of the opera is generally not open to the public for tourists to crowd and snap photos of. The exterior of the opera was nearly as striking as anything I had witnessed on my dream trip around the world, thus far, and because I knew that I would never have the chance to be there again, I (sort of) snuck into the main atrium of the opera house. The interior is comparable to that of the world famous movie theatre I visited only four days ago, with gorgeous carpeting and tapestry, along with far too expensive decor all around. I wish I could have been able to go to an opera and experience the full effect of the stadium, but even being in the main atrium of the State Opera of Prague was enough to get my misty-eyed, simply due to the beauty and intricacy of it all. 7

I was really looking forward to my next stop of the journey. I was headed to the spa at Mandarin Oriental, located only about one kilometer from where I had just come from. I felt that although it cost me roughly €107.00, it would be well worth it to experience the world-renowned skills of the masseuses at the Mandarin Oriental. At this point in the trip, I was in dire need of a massage, as my back and entire body was aching from trekking around Europe for nearly a week. This was probably one of the smartest things I decided to do on this trip, because for the next two hours I experienced nothing but pure bliss and relaxation at the hands of a kind and very talented masseuse. Feeling absolutely revitalized and ready to take on the rest of my dream trip, I left the Mandarin Oriental and knew that I would probably be aching for another massage in about five hours, haha.

A short walk from the spa lead me to my next site of interest, Petrin Hill, which is home to a miniature Eiffel Tower, with roughly 266 steps to get to the top. I learned that the tower was built in 1891, for the Prague Exhibition, and has since become a fixture within the city, and known for it's beautiful view. Once I reached the top of the tower, I realized why this tower is such a popular tourist spot in Prague; the view truly is unbelievable. Just South of Petrin Hill is the Prague Museum of Music, which I certainly wanted to squeeze into my sight-seeing in the Czech Republic. Entrance into the museum was €12, and it is home to more than 70,000 artifacts pertaining to the history and development of music in Prague. I took a guided walking tour of the museum, that was translated into English headphones, and because of this, I learned more than I ever thought possible about the prominence and importance of the musical culture found in the Czech Republic.

By this time, I thought it was about time to grab an early dinner, and decided upon a local restaurant, situated not far from the heart of the city, called the Bellevue Restaurant. Here, I ordered the grilled monk fish in mustard crust, ragout of tri-coloured lentils and curry, scented with martini, and I must say, it was probably my favourite meal thus far on the trip. It cost me a total of €21, but for the quality, as well as presentation of the food, and the overall atmosphere of the goregous restaurant, it was well worth it.

With a full stomach, I headed to my final Czech destination for the day, the Museum of Miniatures, which homes nearly 6000 miniature appropriated pieces from the likes of Salvadore Dali, and Leonardo Davinci, all which must be viewed through a large magnifying glass. It cost me €8.50 to enter the museum, and once there, I took a guided tour with a very small group, there were 4 of us in total, which made the experience that much more intimate and exciting. The tour guide was fluent in English, and explained everything in great detail, from the life and works of the artists themselves, to the intricate process of miniaturizing a figure. I was blown away at how precise every tiny detail was, and kept thinking, never again will I complain that I can't do something, considering the lengths these men and women went to to create something they felt was important.

After a long day of Czech exploration, it was nearly time for me to return to my hotel, wash up, and fall asleep for the night. I was beginning to feel slightly homesick, but that was immediately stifled when I started to think about all the adventures I was sure to face the next day!

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Posted by PublicRelationz 04:53 Archived in Czech Republic Comments (0)

Day 8: Rome, Italy to Washington DC, United States

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

sunny 27 °C

My flight from Rome, Italy to Washington, United States took off at 7:10am the morning on Sunday, July 8th, 2012 and landed at 11:34am of the same day, and although it was nearly a ten hour flight, because of the drastic time difference, we arrived only 'three' hours later in the United States. Luckily, I was able to get some great sleep on the plane, and didn't feel as jet lagged as I would have had I gotten no sleep. Once we landed, and deboarded the plane, a short cab ride from the airport took me to my accommodations for the night, the Holiday Inn, located in the Washington capital. It cost me roughly $140.00 a night, but the room itself was lovely and fully equipped with everything I needed for an enjoyable night's stay. Once I settled in, and had a bite to eat in the hotel lobby restaurant, I was ready to embark upon my incredible tour of the nation's capital!

My main stop, of course, was the Smithsonian Institution, the world's largest museum, that is home to over 14 different specialty museums within itself. To my surprise, admission into most of the general museums is free of charge, as I've learned that the institution wants Americans to visit, and learn more about their history and heritage. I decided upon a guided tour of the Museum of Natural History, which was beyond incredible! Photos were not permitted within most exhibitions within the Smithsonian, but I took away more knowledge, (and pamphlets, for that matter) than I ever though possible in the short time I toured around. I also made sure to check out a tour of the American Art Museum, which capped off all of my artistic sightings on my dream trip around the world. I had already experienced most of the world-renowned art works of Europe, and I felt that it wouldn't be appropriate to neglect the North American artists to whom I owe a great deal. I spent quite a while touring around the american art exhibit, and virtually drooling over every aspect of the museum, when I thought it was about time for me to move on to something potentially even more intriguing. I headed over to the National Zoological Park, which homes countless species of animals, and wildlife. I may have scared a few small children as I frantically ran all over the zoo grounds, overly excited to learn and see each and every animal they had to offer! I now realize that I spent a little longer than I had planned at the Smithsonian, but I am grateful that I got to do and see everything that I did. I hope to one day return and spend a week or more in Washington, so that I can check out every single exhibition that interests me!

After staking out a hot dog vender, and paying a mere $4.00 for a mouth-watering foot long hot dog, I scarfed it down, and virtually ran to the Franklin Deleno Roosevelt Monument! The sculptures were way beyond the size I was anticipating them to be, and the plaques and grounds surrounding the monument were pristinely kept up. I snapped quite a few photos, and felt like a giant tourist as I asked around for someone to take a photo of me in front of FDR. This was quite the surreal experience, because the entire area of Washington, DC is so iconic and universally known! It was getting late in the evening, when I decided that I had to squeak in a few more sites of interest.

A short stop at the Jefferson memorial to snap a few photos proved interesting, as there was some sort of assembly that appeared to be a protest in full swing, not too far away. I also HAD to stop by the Lincoln memorial, and try desperately to climb up Abraham's legs, while onlookers got a great laugh of out my shenanigans. The final place I decided I had to visit before it got too late in the evening was, of course, Capital Hill! It wouldn't be a trip to Washington DC had I not taken time to see this iconic site!

I returned to my hotel with the biggest smile that I couldn't seem to wipe off my face. I was beginning to realize the velocity of everything I had done in the course of a little over a week, and fell asleep dreaming of my next American destination- Las Vegas, Nevada!

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Posted by PublicRelationz 17:00 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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