Julianne’s Blog

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Czech interlude plus practicalities of the road 4 May 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Julianne Dodds @ 9:26 AM
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One difficulty of traveling is laundry. It’s not really a problem to wash socks and underwear in the sink, but it does get annoying to do it daily. Also, if I am traveling the next day I have to pack my damp clothes into my bag, so I try to put out my clothesline when I’m staying somewhere for a couple nights. With my elastic clothesline I carry a drain plug, detergent, and myrrh oil to scent my clothes. But really, sometimes just rinsing the clothes makes them shrink back to their original size and feel clean.

Traveling can be hard on a hygiene routine too. Hostel showers generally suck, so there’s not much incentive to bathe. There’s hair on the floor, the water automatically turns off every 9 seconds, and there are no shelves or hooks to hang your clothes or toiletries. Also, with a 32 L daypack as my bag, I can only carry a few of my most loved familiar products. My mom sends me travel sized bottles filled with my favorite organic lavender lotion. I have a few bottles of essential oils for hygiene purposes, and they also do double-duty as aromatherapy (rosewood oil is anti-infectious, anti-fungal, a local anesthetic, and it smells good). One thing I don’t carry is shampoo, because I can always find or borrow some and it’s not something I’m particular about. It’s fun buying new toothpaste in a different countries, although I could only find unwaxed dental floss in France. I’ve always heard about how wonderful European pharmacies are, and it’s true, but I don’t have enough space to buy all the intriguing lotions and cremes I see on the shelves! Even more so than with my clothing, I make sure that every beauty product I carry is exactly what I want, so I can pretend to pamper myself.

Coming to Izzy’s is great for a lot of reasons. I can relax, let my backpack hang out, and, perhaps most importantly, take a bath. A real honest to goodness bath. Hot water, some lavender oil, and me with a crossword puzzle. It’s easy to loose an hour in there and I’m always glad to do so. Even Buddy the dog comes out of the tub smelling nice and feeling silky (you may remember him as the astro-dog who ate my Dutch brownies).

So now I am back in Prague, having fun with Izzy’s even though I saw her 4 weeks ago in Marseille. When I arrived at her apartment we immediately set out for a friend’s cottage on top of a mountain overlooking the city. We all had a great time drinking beer and grilling sausages around the fire with some Czechs. The dog had a great time rolling around in some dead animal he found in the woods. We didn’t sing, but there was an iPod playing. The rest of the weekend is spent eating, drinking Coke, and watching TV. Just the break I need before heading east to Poland!

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Český Krumlov bedtime stories 1 February 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Julianne Dodds @ 6:11 PM
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When I arrived in Prague, Izzy told me I could basically ride the trams for free, because there was rarely anyone to check for tickets. Super. About 4 days into my visit we were riding the tram when Izzy suddenly pulled me off at a stop because a ticket checker had just got on. Well, no problem. Later that night, as I and some friends were waiting for a tram, we noticed two suspicious looking guys staring at us. We were pretty sure they were ticket takers (and we were not going to pay the 18 Kc for a ticket) so we walked. Next day, Izzy and I got caught without tickets. The guy followed me off the tram when I told him I didn’t have any money, but he wound up taking 18 crowns instead of the 700 fine he tried to shove in my face. Izzy has a pass card that she uses, but she doesn’t put any money on it. When it gets scanned and read as empty, she says her work is supposed to pay it and she gets off. The next day we got caught again! I spotted this guy as soon as he got on, but it was too late for me to get off. I fumbled around and Izzy distracted him with her card until the next stop when I slipped off, but he wouldn’t let her go, so I just followed the tracks until I found her again. They are cracking down on the trams in Prague! So now I am actually buying tickets, but I feel lame.

Well, after our tram adventure, we got back to Izzy’s apartment to find her dog Buddy acting very strange. As I walked into the kitchen, I saw an open tupperware on the floor. A tupperware I had brought from Amsterdam. A tupperware that had been filled with space cake. It was then that I noticed the brownie vomit all over the floor, and I realized why the dog was swayed just as he started pissing all over the apartment. That dog had just eaten a lot of space cake. A LOT. I weigh about 3x as much as Buddy, and I was pretty freaked out after eating just 1. The dog ate 3. He couldn’t stand up straight or keep still. He had thrown up all over the place, and he wasn’t done.

So. $25 of brownies. Gone. I had been saving them for a special occasion. Gone. They were wrapped in Saran, in a tupperware, in a plastic bag, but the dog got through all of that and ATE MY SPECIAL BROWNIES. Of course I felt really bad that my stuff had made the dog sick, and I’m really glad that he’s totally fine now, but there were regular brownies sitting out on the table. But no, Buddy wanted a trip. And he sure got one. So not only did I not get to eat my very expensive, very potent brownies, but no one got to enjoy them! At the end of the night, there was one really freaked out dog and lots of vomit and piss. Bummer.

Now however, that is behind me, and I am in Český Krumlov. Talk about gorgeous! It reminds me a lot of Helen, GA, which is scary because this is the real thing. There’s a castle, a big church, the winding Vltava River, and tiny stores on the cobblestone streets. I am the only guest of the Merlin Hostel, and the bed I picked for myself is right against the heater and under the window, so I get to look out and watch this little fairytale town that is glittering with powdery snow and listen to the churchbells. It really is spectacular, and for $12 a night! But actually, I am going back to Prague tomorrow afternoon. I just wanted to give Izzy and her boyfriend Czech Robert (think real hard before you ask why I call him that) some space in that tiny apartment before I settle down for another 4 or 5 days of sleeping in their kitchen and potentially poisoning their dog.

Also I should say to make my parents feel better that pot for personal use is legal in Czech Republic (and I think feeding it to dogs counts as personal use). No laws broken!

 

Five days in Prague 29 January 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Julianne Dodds @ 6:43 PM
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I’ve been staying with my friend Izzy, but she’s also had 3 other people staying in this tiny 2-room apartment. One of the girls, Katey Sleeveless, is a great musician, so she played a couple times while she was here. This morning she and her best bud Nikki hitchhiked to Dresden. Photos of this are all posted on Flickr!

So I haven’t done much sightseeing around Prague, but today we went to the old castle and walked around. Tomorrow we are planning on doing the Mucha Museum, and also I want to buy a couple things before I leave. I’ve already been to Wencenslas Square and I’ve seen the astronomical clock, which was pretty neat.

Izzy has a week off of school starting on 26 March, the day before my birthday. We decided we are going to go to Nice and then head west along the French coast. Anyone who will be around the Riviera at that time is welcome to join the festivities.

 

girl time with izzy 27 January 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Julianne Dodds @ 11:45 AM
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When I got to wordpress.com and see that they have published over 42,000,000 words just today it makes me reluctant to add any of my own.

I am in Prague now at Izzy’s house. I got here on Saturday at 5 AM after 15 hours on a bus. I’ve taken 2 baths since I got here, which is really super. The first day I was here I finally bought new pants (which were a little expensive and not as sturdy as jeans, but I love them) and Izzy gave me some grey eyeliner which I am very attached to, as something that makes me feel like a girl. The other night we brought home a Spanish man for a cup of coffee who didn’t speak any English, but was still able to tell me that I look like Velma from Scooby Doo. No one had told me that in about 2 years…

Of course I travel with an extra pair of glasses, but while trying to straighten them I snapped them in half. That pair was about 4 years old, so no big loss, but now I only have my teal frames, and if something happens to those then I’m screwed. So I think that I am going to go ahead and get new glasses in Prague, where I have a friend to advise me on the perfect frames. It’s going to cost about $200 I think, which is about the same as in the states, but that kinda sucks.

The other night I got a nice big steak wrapped in bacon and it cost about $10, which is quite the bargain. It was yummy, and I’m really enjoying the hearty Czech food. And fries everywhere! Possibly my favorite food besides mussels, and they usually come together anyway. Also I eat Kinder milk chocolate like it’s nobody’s business since Mare gave me one in France last week.

I’m having a great time hanging out with my friend, drinking coke and watching the Daily Show on iTunes. Also it’s legal to have pot here for “personal use,” which I didn’t know about. Yesterday we went for Thai massages, which lasted for 1 hour and cost about $40. I’m not worrying too much about my budget because I’m having a great time, and that’s more important to me. I’m not sure where to go next; I want to spend about 10-14 days around the Czech area before heading back to France. So that’s the news as I see it. Pictures to come soon.