Czech Technical University
View of Prague Castle from the Most Legii Bridge. Prague Castle is the largest castle complex in the Czech Republic.
The entrance to Masarykova Kolej. This is the dorm in which all the American students stay and also houses a hotel and conference center.
View of Masarykova Dormitory from the outside. Masarykova includes a pub and club in the basement, a restaurant, student 'cafeteria' and basic laundry and gym facilities. Unfortunately, the laundry and gym are not as nice as those at KSU dorms.
The entrance lobby of Masarykova.
Typical Shared Room in Masarykova Dormitory. Each student is provided with a bed, desk and closet space as well as built in cabinets and book shelves around the bed.
Shared kitchen in Masarykova Dormitory. Each kitchen is shared between three double occupancy rooms and has a sink, burners, and mini fridge. Though limited, it is adequate for basic cooking - but the students have to provide their own cooking utensils, pots and pans.
The bathroom of each "apartment" is split into two rooms. The first contains a shower and sink.
The other contains another sink and a toilet. This makes it much easier to share a bathroom among 6 people.
Map of the Czech Tech Campus. The campus is only a few minutes walk from the Masarykova Dormitory. CTU is very proud of its new library, item 12 on the map.
The Architecture building is one of the newest on campus and is to the right of the Civil Engineering building.
The Mechanical and Electrical Faculty building are past the library as one walks towards the main Dejvicka circle. All classrooms are decently appointed and similar to those at KSU.
The elevators in the faculty buildings were like nothing I had ever seen before. It was as if an escalator had been crossed with a traditional elevator creating a two person lift that never stopped. You just had to jump on and off on your chosen floors.
This is a view of the National Technical Library at Czech Tech. The library won first prize in an architectural competition in 2000 and is a pride of the university.
The exterior view of the National Technical Library.
Inside the library, the walls are all decorated with graffiti inspired art, many of which show politically themed messages.
On the top floor of the library, there are a couple outdoor courtyards where students can sit and do work when the weather is nice.
The building of the faculty of Civil Engineering is the first that is encountered when a student walks from Masarykova to the CVUT campus. The center portion is a large open atrium while the two side wings house all the classrooms. Each faculty building also offers a small cafeteria or convenience shop for food.
As part of the National Technical Library, there is a very nice cafeteria that also serves as a bar. The food and drinks aren't too expensive but they are good.
A great part of the International Student Club are the sports they offer. Here is the boys football (soccer) team after they took second place in the final tournament.
Another sport offered by the ISC is volleyball. We started out playing on an indoor court but through that group, were introduced to a sand volleyball league. This was a favorite activity each week in Prague.
The ISC Group organized many trips during orientation week and one was this journey to the South Bohemia region of the Czech Republic. Throughout the two day trip, we saw various towns, landmarks and even a castle.
View of the Český Krumlov Castle. The International Student Club at CTU organized a trip during orientation week to the South Bohemia region of the Czech Republic and one of the stops was this castle. It's the second largest castle complex in the Czech Republic and is surrounded by an incredibly picturesque town.
All suited up with hard hats and head lamps for a tour of a graphite mine.
A few kids from the South Bohemia group. ISC gives a great opportunity to meet students from all over the world.
Another trip offered by the ISC was an excursion to Sazava to hike and canoe. The first day involved a 20km hike up the river followed by a bonfire in the evening. The second day, the group canoed back down the river the way we had come. The orientation week trips were great and gave the opportunity to meet other students from all over the world.
These are our hiking group leaders on one of the trail stops.
Traditional Czech starter plate including exotic things like tongue and some sort of pureed beef.
Traditional Czech dinner of Svíčková - Beef with cream and cranberries served with a vegetable puree gravy and dumplings. Yum! This was my favorite Czech food.
National Museum. This is famed to be an incredible museum but unfortunately it's closed until 2015 for renovation.
This statue of King Wenceslas sits at the head of Wenceslas Square and is a famous landmark for people to meet up in the city.
The Prague astronomical clock is the oldest working astronomical clock in the world.
Astronomical Clock. There is a "puppet" show that plays as the clock strikes each hour. During the show, the skeleton statue rings a bell while saints rotate through the upper windows.
Detail of the clock face. Good luck deciphering the time though.
Church of Our Lady in front of Týn dominates the skyline of Old Town Square.
A view of Prague Castle with St. Vitus Cathedral.
Metronome on Letna Hill. This marks the location where a large statue of Stalin once stood. Upon the end of communism though, the statue was destroyed and a metronome put in its place.
A few of the Vltava River from Letna Hill.
The Dancing House is an architectural piece that is very famous in Prague. It can be found around the corner and down the street from the Karlovo Namesti metro station.
Tesco is a primary grocery store in Prague. This is one of the cutest versions of the store.
The Jewish Quarter boasts a number of tourist attractions. This is just one of the many buildings that has history there.
Magyar Mezőgazdasági Múzeum - basically a collection of every single castle style they could think of. This was my favorite site in Budapest and was conveniently near the largest bath house in the city.
Szechenyi Bath and Spa - the largest bath house in Budapest
Typical European breakfast of coffee and pastry.
St. Stephen's Basilica in Budapest
The Chain Bridge of Budapest
Matthias Church is on the Pest side of the river in Budapest on castle hill
The coolest fountain ever! The stone's around the outside were pressure sensors that would shut off a section of water when stepped on so that you could walk in and out of the fountain without getting wet
Ice Bar Budapest. The ice bar was definitely a cool place to go for one quick drink but it wasn't as appealing as all the hype.
First Czech hockey game - Sparta v. Slavia. Ice hockey is the most popular sport in the Czech Republic.
Market in Vienna. This is very similar to markets found all over Europe where people go to buy produce, meat, cheese, bread and any other fresh groceries they need.
St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna
The Opera in Vienna. The Vienna Opera offers standing tickets for only 4Euro. Even if you've never thought to see an opera, the experience is definitely worth it. Just be sure to get there early as standing room tends to fill up quickly.
Hofburg Palace in Vienna.
Schönbrunn Palace Gardens
Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna.
Tempelhof Airport - No longer used as an airport, but now it's an outdoor recreation park for Berlin where lots of people hang out and fly kites
"All our splendid monuments
lipstick traces on a cigarette
the light comes up on only
land forest here once
forest here again"
"Echoes of voices in the high
towers all wounds explained
here all knives bandaged
all empires arrested all castles
unbuilt all hearts unbroken"
Brandenburger Tor was a former city gate of Berlin.
Berlin Holocaust Memorial
TV Tower in Berlin was a famous symbol of communism in the city.
An abandoned amusement park in Berlin offered a small train ride around the outskirts to view the parks ruins.
The Berlin Wall. One side offers murals by artists from all over the world (including one panel by an artist from my home city of Denver, Colorado). The other side is a collection of random graffiti.
Dresdan, Germany. While not as large as other cities, Dresden is within a couple hours of Prague and makes a nice day trip from the city into Germany.
Friday night at the famous Temple Bar in Dublin. The atmosphere is great with live Irish music and an authentic feel.
Chapel Royal at Dublin Castle
Dublin Castle - not your typical European castle.
St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin.
Just outside the main city center, you can walk to the beach in Dublin. It's much quieter than any of the touristy areas of the city and makes for a very pretty view.
The Old Jameson Distillery
Fette's College in Edinburgh - where JK Rowling was educated and drew some inspiration for Hogwarts
A trip step - this was a technique used in older times in Edinburgh to deter burglars. The concept is that each "apartment complex" was built with a trip step at a different location in the staircase so that the residents of the building would know and avoid it but burglars would fumble and fall down the stairs.
A graveyard which JK Rowling overlooked while writing Harry Potter. Ironically, many of the characters in the book got their name from headstones in this cemetery.
A tour of the Scottish Highlands is a must for anyone who travels to the northern United Kingdom. The scenery was breathtaking and the stories of the places were very moving.
Fort Augustus is the town situated on the banks of the famous Loch Ness. For such a famous loch, the town still retains its small town charm.
A ruined castle was one stop along the Highland tour that offered a glimpse into history that hadn't been renovated and taken over by tourists.
Glencoe - named for the water running down the hills because they appear to be weeping. In most times of the year, the entire hillside would be green but we were there in a very dry fall so the landscape was orange instead.
Panorama of the Highlands
Worldwide! Though much of Europe is on the Euro, there are still a variety of currencies that a traveler must get used to.
Sacrario di Cristo Church in Messina, Sicily
A beautiful beach in Messina, Sicily
The Navigator of the Seas. One way to tour the Eastern Mediterranean is by cruise ship. It actually turns out to be much cheaper than flying to various destinations and offers a glimpse into all the main ports along the way.
Language in Europe is always difficult to read because its foreign but the Greek alphabet added even a new challenge.
Looking down into Athens
Looking through the Arch of Hadrian toward the Acropolis
A fallen column at the Temple of Zues
Pigeon Island is an old fortress off the shore of Kusadasi, Turkey.
Walking to the beach in Crete
Arch of Constantine in Rome.
The Colosseum in Rome.
One of the most striking things about Rome is that you can walk around the city and be constantly greeted by ruins that are hundreds or even thousands of years old.
St. Peter's Square in the Vatican City.
Another trip arranged by the ISC office was to Krakow, Poland. This trip also collaborated with several other international programs from Prague so we were able to meet students studying abroad from other universities as well. This trip visited Auschwitz, Birkenau, the Salt Mines and the Krakow city center.
Wieliczka Salt Mine in Krakow. There were 54 flights of stairs leading down into the mines.
Krakow's Main Market Square and the Cloth Hall at night
The Town Hall Tower in Krakow. The ISC group organized a City Game so we could run around and see many of the sights.
Wawel Castle in Krakow.
This is a nature area about 20 minutes from where we live in Prague at the end of the tram lines.
Our Czech Culture Course took one night to attend a floorball match so we went to a town outside of Prague and got to watch two of the best Czech Republic teams compete. Basically floorball is the same as hockey only without the ice and using a wiffle ball and netted stick rather than a puck and hockey stick. It was also cool because after each goal, the entire team (including those on the bench) got to run out to the "court" and congratulate the scorer.
Torre Agbar. This is the first building we saw upon exiting the metro in Barcelona.
And this is the beach in Barcelona where many of the cities most famous clubs are. Many of these are entered from an upper level but have patios that lead out onto the beach.
This is La Pedrera, a building by the architect Gaudi. We were actually able to go inside and see an exhibit comparing the works of several famous architects of Gaudi's same time period. As an Architectural Engineer, I thought it was really interesting.
La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. The church was started in 1882 and has been under construction ever since.. 130 years!
This is the back side of the Sagrada Familia displaying a completely different design style.
A close up of the insane detail work on the church. Even the rose window can barely be seen through all that has been built in front of it.
Gaudi building situated at the entrance to Park Guell.
This is a fountain show in Barcelona. The water feature was programmed to "dance" in time with music and lights.
The Arc de Triomf in Barcelona. This is just a small preview of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
Looking down the beach in Barcelona.
Kutna Hora is a small, quiet town about an hour outside of Prague by train. Though it doesn't have much, it's claim to fame is the Sedlec Ossuary, a chapel completely decorated with the bones of over 40,000 individuals. We took a day trip to visit this ossuary and saw the centerpiece chandelier shown. The chandelier contains every single bone in the human body.
Also made completely of human bones, this is the coat of arms of the Schwarzenberg family.
The front of St. Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle.
Looking towards Prague from across the river.
Prague's miniature Eiffel Tower at the top of Petrin Hill. Again, this is only a preview of the real thing to be seen in Paris afterwards.
The Eiffel Tower sparkles each night on the hour.
Within the Louvre, there is a beautiful spiral staircase.
A bridge full of locks for loving couples. Tradition says that you come to the bridge, attach a lock with your names on it, then throw the keys into the river so your love can never be "unlocked" or broken.
The Panthéon in Paris houses this incredible pendulum clock. Though there's not much else to see in the Panthéon, this clock is worth seeing for the free student admission.
KSU! Current student, graduated student and wannabe student. Kansas State from Champagne, France.
Our the way home from Champagne, we took a detour through Versailles and drove through the palace gardens.
The Eiffel Tower (I think you all could have guessed that one)
The Ferris Wheel and Obelisk in Paris.
Arc de Triomphe. For a split second there were miraculously no cars on this side of the circle.
A look at the Paris downtown skyline. The most central building is a modern work designed to mirror the historical Arc de Triomphe.
The Basilica of the Sacré Cœur. This is by far my favorite church that I've seen in all of Europe.
Stained glass windows and tiled mosaics on the walls in the Basilica of the Sacré Cœur. These details are what made the Basilica my favorite European church.
Basilica of the Sacré Cœur at sunset.
The Louvre at dusk.
The Eiffel Tower sparkling at 1am. The is the last and best sparkle show of the night because they shut off all the other lights on the tower.
Notre Dame in Paris
The 7 of us who traveled to Paris rented a small apartment near the Eiffel Tower. If several students are traveling together, it's worth it to look into renting an apartment rather than staying in a hostel. It can be cheaper and offers the conveniences of living in your own "home."
Nitro Circus Live comes to Prague for the first time ever. The atmosphere wasn't quite to the level of insane that it would be in the US and the whole program was in Czech but the stunts were still incredible to see.
After Nitro Circus, we went to a bar in the Center where they have a model railroad built and connected to every table to your drink is delivered by train.
It is traditional in the Czech Republic to celebrate one's Name Day. We looked it up online and found that Becky's name day is December 6th. This of course called for a celebration. I used our steamer pot and the stove to "bake" a coconut/orange cake with coconut/orange/ginger frosting. It turned out delicious and may be one of my proudest Prague cooking moments - right up there with Thanksgiving dinner.
This is the main Christmas tree in Old Town Square. Christmas markets got set up in early December and presided over the city until early January. The scene was so picturesque!
The laundry in Masarykova left a lot to be desired.. meaning there were only a maximum of 6 washers (when none were broken), and no dryers. In order to do laundry, I loaded my dirty clothes into a suitcase and carried them across town to Namesti Miru to a laundromat that offered dryers.
Trdelnik is a traditional sweet pastry very popular at Christmas markets. It is made from rolled dough, wrapped around a stick, then grilled and topped with sugar and walnut mix. One of my Christmas favorites!
This is a beef soup served with rye bread. Soup is a very important part of dining in the Czech Republic.
Another version of Czech Goulash is served as a thick soup in a bread bowl.
An Old Bohemian Square Meal. Included are Czech sausage, duck, ham and pork. Accompanied by break and potato dumplings and two types of red cabbage, red and white. This is a very heave meal but a good choice to try many varieties of traditional fare.
Neuschwanstein Castle! This is the inspiration for Disney's Princess castles.
A first view of the Alps as we drove through Germany toward Switzerland for Christmas. What beautiful mountains and scenery!
The most adorable church in Samnaun, Switzerland.
After driving out of Switzerland, through Austria and Italy, then back into Switzerland, we arrived in Scuol. This was another picturesque Swiss town nestled in the Alps.
Karlštejn Castle is only 30km from Prague and was completed in the 1300's. Unlike most castles, Karlštejn was designed not as a royal residence, but as as a place for safekeeping of the royal treasures, especially Charles's collection of holy relics and the coronation jewels of the Roman Empire.
Křivoklát Castle is located 35km from Prague and is thought to be one of the most beautiful castles near the city. It was founded in the 12th century.
This began as a normal wall in Prague but since the 1980's has been decorated with Lennon and Beatles inspired graffiti. These are two pictures for the which the Lennon Wall is known.
Prague has something for faceless babies. These are the most prominent faceless baby statues but there are others in the city as well.
Stara Praha is our favorite restaurant in Prague. We went here for our very first dinner in the city so after that it became the first night restaurant for everyone who came to visit us. It serves delicious Czech cuisine and is one of the only places in the city to offer free water.
At the base of Petřín Hill is the Memorial to the Victims of Communism. The plaque reads, "The memorial to the victims of communism is dedicated to all victims not only those who were jailed or executed but also those whose lives were ruined by totalitarian despotism."
The Hunger Wall is a 1200m long structure that separates Petřín Hill. Its construction was ordered in the 1300's to great work for the starving people of Prague; this explains the name.
The skyline of Prauge with St. Vitus Cathedral (part of Prague Castle) dominating the view.
Divoká Šárka. This is a nature area at the end of the tram from our dorm. It's just a short 15 minute trip but it gets you outside the city and offers some beautiful views and walks through country.
The interior of St. Vitus Vathedral. St. Vitus is the most prominent church in the Prague Castle complex. It was started before the 10th century and was then under construction for 1000 years until finally being completed and consecrated in 1929.
The Church of Saints Peter and Paul at Vyšehrad. Vyšehrad is a castle complex in Prague dating from the 10th century. Legend holds that Vyšehrad was the first settlement in Prague.
The interior of the Church of Saints Peter and Paul. Every wall and ceiling was covered in stunning paintings from the Bible.
Happy New Year! The Prague fireworks show was actually held on the 1st of January to dually celebrate the split of Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The show was staged from a boat on the Vltava River and was fully choreographed to music. It was one of the most impressive fireworks displays I've ever seen.
Another version of the Old Bohemian Square Meal. This plate includes sausage, pork and ham accompanied by (you guessed it) dumplings and cabbage.
German Weißwurst or White Sausage. This is a dish that always looked concerning but I finally decided to give it a try and it turned out to be delicious.
Even better than the sausage though was the German pretzel. It was by far the best tasting pretzel I've ever had.
And to top off the German dinner, we got a traditional Apfelstrudel with vanilla ice cream.
This is the tiny little European car that the five of us rented for our journey to Germany. Though small, it got us there and back in one piece, that's all we can ask. (But someday I really am going to drive the Autobahn in a car that's worthy of that road).
The Christmas Market in Old Town Square. Christmas Markets are a European tradition that offer food, hot wine and any number of trinkets to celebrate the holiday.
Church of Our Lady of Victory. The church houses the Infant Jesus of Prague which was donated to the monastery in 1628. Following this, the Infant Jesus statue was attributed with the healing of Prague's people and the protection of the city in times of crisis.
A band on the Charles Bridge. Any day you could see various performers displaying their art and talent at along the bridge.
Jen, Tanguy and I at the lock wall in Prague. A loving couple will attach a lock to the bridge then throw the keys into the river to keep their relationship forever.
Goulash is another traditional Czech dish. It includes beef and sausage cooked in a gravy then served with peppers, onions and dumplings. This was my second favorite Czech dish next to Svíčková.
Our group at the ski mountain Špindlerův Mlýn. Compared to Colorado, skiing and snowboarding were incredibly cheap in the Czech Republic. After driving about 2.5 hours from Prague, it was only about $50 for rental and lift ticket. It was a beautiful day at the mountain and we had a great time.
A perfect powder day! The weather was on and off snow all day long which meant that we always got to make fresh tracks in the new powder.
Before leaving, I got to sign the mirror in the pub and leave my mark for future Erasmus students. "Live the life you love and love the life you live. Prague 2012/2013." The Pub was a staple to life in Masarykova where you could always find friends to hang out with each night.
The Pub in Masarykova basement. Always a great place for meeting other students and spending an enjoyable night close to home.