Charles River Walk, Watertown, MA

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One of the most beautiful walks I have walked in any time of the year, but the best is to walk it in fall. It is a short loop with paved path, easy to walk, run or bike. You’ll meet all kinds of people there. Retirees walking with their canes, students chatting at picnic tables, runners and bikers getting their workout done, kids running around and looking at birds, trees, turtles, ducks and gees, fishermen who try to catch some fish, and me taking pictures of the beautiful foliage.

This pictures I took in October 2009 on a perfect sunny day with the sun just at the right angle to go through the leaves and make them shine in their best color. I thought you might enjoy the photos as I did the walk.

If you will be visiting Boston and have a little time, stop by to relax or exercise, you won’t regret it. The loop is not that far from Watertown square, between streets of Galen, California, Bridge and Pleasant.

More photos in Charles River album

Alaska

19.- 26.6.2010

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Alaska is the largest state in the United States and I saw just a very small fraction of it. But even that small fraction was AMAZING!

Our travel itinerary began in Anchorage where we rent a car and drove down to Seward. Seward is a cute coastal town. From there we took a 6 hours glacier cruise tour. The tour was great! We saw a lot of animals, beautiful coastline and the most (at least for me) glaciers.  I didn’t see that many of the animals because I had a motion sickness. Really, really bad one! I admit I threw up twice! Once I was lucky to make it to a trash bin. I hugged it and hold on to it with all my life and didn’t care about anybody. David tried to convince me to go to bathroom. haha. I couldn’t move at all! :D

It’s just amazing how the sickness disappears when you step out of the boat. :)

From Seward we went back to Anchorage and on the way we stopped at Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center which mission is to provide refuge for orphaned, injured, and ill animals-those that can’t survive in the wilderness.

In Anchorage I met with Steve which I mentioned in my previous entry. It was very pleasant meeting and Steve was my second space friend I have met! You should check his website On The Trail of Alaska. He is living in Alaska and has an amazing photos on his blog! A little story. The night before I met Steve for a morning cup of coffee, I fell on a night stand in our hotel room and hit back of my head when I was trying to sit down on a bed. I had a pretty big headache which last for two more days. I didn’t sleep that well and in the morning my head was pulsing with pain. I looked awful.

Then we went to tiny town Talkeetna where we took a flight tour around Mt. McKinley (in Alaska they call it just Denali). Talkeetna is very cute town. It’s full of tourists and people who are trying to hike Mt. McKinley. Historic downtown is just one street.

From there we drove straight to Denali National Park. You have to take a bus to see the park. They don’t let cars in. We stayed two nights in Kantishna Roadhouse.  We spend two days on the bus to get in and out of the Park. The bus ride is very informative and the driver tells a lot of information about the Park and stops to see animals. On these rides we saw the most animals.  The only one day we had at Kantishna we did a short hike around the Roadhouse with a guide.  I’ll let the pictures talk more.

After that we drove just to Fairbanks for the night and flew back to Boston.

Alaska’s highlights. The best was to see: the glaciers, wolfs, bears, moose with little calf, running caribou in a shallow river and just trees, trees, trees everywhere. It was like pine needle trees jungle! And always day light, all the time! :)
The worst to remember: motion sickness on the boat. Hit my back of my head, had a headache for another two days. :) And tired tired tired, but it was all worth it! :D

I’ll never forget my Alaska trip.

Some photos so you can get a glimpse of Alaska.

New York City

23. – 25.10.2009

Thanks to my friend Dita and after five years of living in the USA I finally went to see New York.

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As I had just two days to see the city my visiting was intense and overwhelming. The city sucks you in and there is no way how to escape from it. My first feel of the city was right out of the train from Penn Station. As I entered the station suddenly crowd of people surrounded me and that feeling never left me. I called Dita to rescue me. I couldn’t even describe her where I was. There were people everywhere.

I was trying not to loose Dita as we were walking toward the subway. The city was lit by millions lights, by millions people, and by millions cars or I should say taxis. It was nice to sit down in Czech and Slovak Restaurant Koliba in Astoria and eat some Czech food. Then we went by taxi to Dita’s home. I was surprised that we went by taxi because in Boston it’s quite expensive but not in NY.

New York is crazy crazy crazy! I would never say that I love NYC or that NYC is beautiful. NYC is everything else but beautiful. Maybe just Chrysler building and Brooklyn bridge are beautiful and parks. :)

I would say that NYC is cool, crazy, loud, crowded, cosmopolitan for sure, colorful and dirty. And tense. NYC is nice at night and when is sunny.

NYC is everything you can imagine and everything you cannot! You just have to go there and see it, live it.

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Dita took me through all the major sightseeing places.

You can see it in my album New York City.

Prague

28.-29.5.2009

Usually when people ask me where I come from I say the Czech Republic and they would say Prague. Prague (Czech Praha) became very popular after the collapse of Communist government back in 1989 and a lot of tourist are visiting from all over the world. So for those who doesn’t know, Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic.

 

 

 I looooove Prague. I went to High School plus lived there for six years. I knew that Prague is beautiful but I fully realized it when I started travel and was coparing her with other big cities.  I miss her sooo much!

Prague is no like other city.  I love Rome, London, Washington D.C., San Francisco, but non of these cities are as picturesque and magic as Prague is. You can let yourself get lost in her narrow historical streets, close your eyes and relax in many parks, or walk on Charles River Bridge long after midnight when there is just you and last street musician.

Prague isn’t big (1.2 million people) but that’s her beauty. She also wasn’t damaged by second world war, historical buildings are preserved well and most modern buildings are situated in harmony with the old ones .

I had just two days to show Prague to David which is not much. Also it was raining most of the time. I showed him The Royal Mile, or King’s Road (Kralovska cesta in Czech), which is the most known tourist route in Prague.
The King’s Road was the route a future king had to take on the way to his crowning in the St. Vitus Cathedral at the Prague Castle. It has remained unchanged since about the 15th Century. Czech royals lived at the so-called King’s Court (today’s Municipal House) and rode to their coronation from the Powder Gate, through Celetna Street, across Old Town Square and through Nerudova Street up to Hradcanske Namesti (Hradcany Square), to St. Vitus Cathedral.
 
 

 

Instead of me I’ll let my photos talk and I borrowed words of Czech writer whose description of Prague is so beautiful:

Prague is such a goddess of love, able to give to everyone, without loosing the reputation of being beautiful, charming and honorable, faithful, as becomes an immortal goddess. You will find her in all her guises, the Romanesque and Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque, and Rococo, Classicist and Empire, Art Nouveau and contemporary. Here too she is the goddess of gardens and bridges and towers, of which there are so many that nobody has ever counted them exactly. She is a beauty for all seasons.”

Arnošt Lustig

more photos in my album Prague.

Kutná Hora

27.5.2009

After visiting my parents we went towards to Prague and stopped half way in Kutná Hora which is part of UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The origins of Kutna Hora are linked with the settlement of the first Cistercian Monastery in Bohemia in 1142. In the 13th century Kutna Hora gained importance because of discovering silver which started silver mines and minting of Prague Groschen. From the 13th to 16th centuries the city competed with Prague economically, culturally and politically.

 

 

Kutna Hora has two major sightseeing. Cathedral of St. Barbara and Sedlec Ossuary.

Saint Barbara Cathedral construction began in 1388 and by 1420 work on the building was interrupted for more than 60 years during the Hussite Wars. Construction, however, depended on the prosperity of the town’s silver mines, which became much less productive. So, in 1588, the incomplete structure was enclosed by a provisional wall until 1884 and the roof was unfinished until the 19th century. The Cathedral is named after Saint Barbara who is the patron of miners. Originally three aisled Cathedral was changed to massive 5 aisled Cathedral.

 

Cemetary Chapel with Ossuary in Sedlec. The chapel was built at the end of the 14th century and its current appearance is the result of Baroque reconstruction carried out by Santini-Aichl in the early 18th century.

Its foundation is bounded with the story of abbot Heidenreich, who went to Jerusalem in 13th Century. From there he brought a bit of saint soil. During the ceremony he scaterred the soil on the local cemetery which turned to a place full of miracles. Sedlec then was sought by many pilgrims and christians from Poland, Bavaria and Belgium, who wanted to be burried there. Being burried in Sedlec ment being closer to the ressurection, so it is normal that many people were concerned in being burried there. Thirty thousands victims of black death and many hussites were added to the local corpses.

Unique skeletal decorations of the interior are probably the work of woodcarver František Rint in the 19th century. According to estimates, bones of approximately 40,000 people were used to decorate the chapel, creating this unique ossuary – a reminder of the transience of human life and the inevitability of death.

 

More photos in my photo album Kutna Hora.

Next Prague.

Chateau Nové Město nad Metují, castle Náchod and Adršpach Rocks

25.5. – 26.5.2009

After the hectic London we finally flew to Czech Republic. Exhausted we met my brother on the airport in Prague, rented a car and drove to my brother’s house. It was around midnight when my brother welcomed us at his house with shots of whiskey. :) I don’t know if it is Czech custom or just my family custom but whoever comes to visit our family, first thing you get is a shot of a hard alcohol. With my father that means that he likes you. :) After sleeping just few hours in two days we were drinking and talking to my brother and eating some fresh rolls with salami. You can imagine that I fell in the bed like dead. :)

The second day we went from Prague to Hradec Kralove, my parents town. My mom and dad were doing welcoming party for me and mainly for David because he has never been in Czech and he has never seen my extended family. My dad welcomed David with a shot of Kalvados (brandy made of apples) and since then David is part of my family! :) We had such a great time and David got to know my cousins and uncles and some of my friends. David loved it and I was happy.

The next two days we went for a trip in eastern Bohemia which is part of the Czech Republic where my parents live.

First stop was in Nové Město nad Metují which is a small town  founded in 1501 with chateau and historical town square lined with arcades as most of historical towns in the Czech. We walked around the square, stopped at a church and the chateau. We had a private tour around the chateau. Not that we asked for it but there wasn’t anybody else for the tour so it was just me, David and my mom. It was great! The owners were still living in some part of the chateau and the rest they let to open for tourists. We couldn’t take any pictures inside unfortunately as in any other chateaus and castles. You can have wedding in the chateau and they would take pictures of you in the historical rooms where aristocrats used to live. It’s pretty impressive.

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The other stop was in town Náchod. First written mentions of the town was in 1254. I must say I was a little disappointed because of the bad traffic there and we couldn’t find town square so instead we went to Nachod castle. The Gothic castle was founded in mid 13th century. Again we had a private tour around the castle. Most people visit on the weekends and during the school summer holiday. The castle wasn’t as splendid as the chateau in Nove Mesto but it is older and more massive. The castle has a very rare tapestries which were made in Brussels in 1650. There were 50 of them but only 9 pieces were saved. Also part of the castle moat was a place where they had bears but we didn’t see them.

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After that we went to Adršpach Rocks. It is set of sandstone formations covering 17 km² in northeastern Bohemia. The rocks have been protected as a national nature reserve since 1933, and since 1991 the whole adjacent region has enjoyed the status of protected landscape area. It is also known as Rock City. I really love this place and I was going there since I was child. It is a child’s paradise! Tall rocks close next to each other taking on all kind of shapes. Better to look at photos then my words.

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More photos in my album Nove Mesto, Nachod and Adrspach.

Next Kutna Hora.

London

23.5.2009

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We stopped in London just for few hours between our flights from Boston to Prague. And we are not going to do it again because we were so exhausted! The flight was just six hours overnight  but we maybe slept two if really.

We had 8 hours between flights which left us just with six hours for to get to London and to see something. We took subway from the airport. That took an hour each way so we were really left just with four hours for sightseeing. Which is not much. We saw Tower of London and we took two hours long bus tour.

In Tower of London was quite a long line to get the tickets. It took us at least 30 minutes to get them. They had tourists guides there but you would have to have at least three hours to go with them. The guides are pretty funny and they say a lot of interesting things about England, the royal family, etc. I did the tour five years ago. Well me and David we didn’t have as much time so we were running through it and really stopped just at the White Tower and the Jewel House where they keep Crown Jewels.

The bus tour took us all over the major London’s sightseeing. At least David saw London from the bus. But it is not as the same as walking through the city and have time to sit at cafeterias, pubs and parks, to look inside museums, stores and churches, to feel the city.

Also we were so in rush that we didn’t have time to eat at all. The last meal was breakfast on the plane and then supper on the airport. It was very exhausting and London is just hazy memory in our minds. We have to return for more days for sure.

London is very cool city. People here are more everything. They wear cool clothes not as in Boston. In Boston everybody is boring in theirs suits. Not London. You can find all kind of types of people, all natioanlities living together, specially Camden Town was great. At least from my memories. For super dancing we were going to the club The Fridge. It was the best!
The city is full of life! It has its own puls. As I lived there for ten months I love London very much but it took me a while to feel that way. I needed to walk through it and get to feel it. Live it. And then I loved every piece of it! David loved it right away.

More photos in my album London

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Washington, D.C.

6. – 8.1.2009

When my mom was visiting me in winter I wanted to do something special for her. So we sat on the plane and flew to Washington, D.C. 

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I must say I loooved the capital city!  We had just three days which is not much for Washington D.C. So I asked mom what she would like to see and she picked National Museum of Natural History, National Air and Space Museum and United States Botanic Garden. I picked National Museum of the American Indian.

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As probably everybody knows all the museums in D.C. are free. I really loved all the museums we went except of American Indian. I was expecting a lot but was quite disappointed. As huge the museum is I really liked just one floor where was an exhibitions of all tribes living in the U.S. The building was nice and interesting as you can see on the photo. In the museum was  Mitsitam Native Foods Café where you can eat cuisines of Native Americans. We didn’t try any because it was quite expensive as all the food in Museums. We mostly ate in MC Donald’s or bought sandwich before.

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We enjoyed Botanic Garden a lot as we both love flowers. Also it was quite cold so it was nice to be in a big green house full of tropical and desert flowers.

Natural History Museum is amazing! Everybody who loves animals, nature and minerals has to go there. And Air Space Museum is cool also. My photos may say more.

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I loved to walk around. The city doesn’t have any skyscrapers which is nice change. All the buildings are big and wide as also streets are. The weather wasn’t that great. First two days was raining so we were most of the time in the museums. Last day was sunny but really windy. Of course we saw White House. We were there just few days before Obama’s inauguration and there were big preparations for it.

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I didn’t want my mom to stay in some cheap hotel so I got a good deal through AAA and we stayed in Morrison Clark Historic Inn which is under Historic Hotels in America. It is really nice Inn with nice interiors and very good restaurant!

I’ll be back for sure! There is much more to see and my husband was envy because he has never been in Washington D.C. and I was before him. So next trip will be with him. :)

More photos in my album Washington, D.C.

Alcatraz – San Francisco

15.-16.8.2008

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This was my second time I visited San Francisco. The first time was in 2005. I am not going to write about the city as I wrote about it already and you can read it here.

Both times I didn’t stay for long which I wish I could but I was happy to come back and to see Alcatraz.

We booked tickets on-line because we were told that you have to buy them ahead otherwise you won’t have a chance to get there, specially at summer time. The procedure wasn’t that bad. Even with a long line to get on the boat everything went pretty quickly and smoothly.

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Once you get to Alcatraz is it pretty organized. First there is a person in front of the prison who welcomes you and explains everything. You can choose to go with a guide or you get head set with receiver which guides you through Alcatraz and says stories.  You can stay on Alcatraz the whole day and leave with the last boat returning to the city.

We had really good time and it was interesting to hear what everything happened there.

After that we had a bus sightseeing of Golden Gate Bridge but it was so foggy that we really didn’t see it. :) It was the second time I didn’t see it! But the bus tour was really interesting. We had very funny and good guide that he made the tour pleasure even we were freezing on top of the bus. They had blankets to lend.

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I was happy to be in San Francisco again and I hope I’ll visit more and hopefully I am going to have a sunny day and I’ll see the Golden Gate Bridge. :)

More description of Alcatraz with my photos in my album Alcatraz.

Photos of Golden Gate Bridge and the city in album San Francisco.