29 October 2009

Stověžatá Praha - Prague City of 100 Spires

These posts about Mom's trip will be a little out of order...well, a lot out of order as I am starting with the end of the trip.

Mom was flying out of Prague on Monday, so on Sunday morning Kelly, Mom and I took the train to Prague. Its a 4 hour train ride through some lovely countryside. We had breakfast in the dining car....coffee and what not. If you look closely at this picture you'll see a deer out in the field. A nice train trip indeed.

We got in at lunch time so had the whole day to explore. We checked into our hotel and headed straight to the Old Town Square. It was mobbed, but we got a good spot to watch the Astronomical Clock do its business at Noon.

We then sat in a cafe' on the sqaure and had some good stick-to-your-ribs food. Mom had some Chicken Schnitzel and I had the Czech variation of Goulash & bread Knodel...with a Dark Budwar beer...mmmmmm. I don't remember what Kelly had but it was awfully nice of her to lift the napkin so we could see the bread in this picture. She's very thoughtful.

We sat and enjoyed the afternoon...but we still had a lot to see !

Ahhh Prague. What a rich history. Once the capitol of the Holy Roman Empire and the political, economic and cultural center of Bohemia for over 1100 years. It is impressive.

Its one of those cities that just walking around can keep you entertained for hours on end. Just look at the tops of the buildings !

Around every corner is another "oooohhhh wowwwwww look at that" moment.

I have seen a lot of churches , but I think the towers of the Gothic style Tyn Church are some of the most impressive in all of Europe.

Like every other tourist to Prague, we walked across the Charles bridge, which has been under construction since my first trip to Prague 2 years ago. It doesnt "ruin" the experience, but it stinks having half the bridge covered in scaffolding and guys going at it with jackhammers.

We also explored the grounds of Wallenstein palace, home of the Czech Senate. The gardens are beautiful and there are all kinds of birds about including ducks and peacocks. There is also an owl house with a bunch of giant scary owls in it.

There is also a huge articifical drip stone stalactite formation....pretty cool!

We had a lot of fun just walking around....see, look how much fun Kelly is having.

After some late afternoon downtime in the room, we went to the Seven Angels restaurant for our dinner reservation. The reason Kelly chose this place ? Gypsy Music !

It was a nice dinner, but they sat us right next to the band....normally this would be ok but one of the guys was playing a giant hammer dulcimer ! It was a little loud at times, but it was fun. I couldve gone for a little more Gypsy Folk music rather than a lot of classical favorites played Gypsy style, but they were very good.

I had a Deer Sirloin Steak, Kelly had some undercooked Pork Medallions in a mushroom sauce and Mom, big surpise here, had the Schnitzel...again ! This time it was Veal at least. She apparently loves schnitzel ! It was a fun night.

The next morning we got up super early to take Mom to the airport. Daylight savings time apparently confused the crap out of the girl at the hotel desk because she woke us up at 4:15am instead of 5:15am, but it all worked out in the end. We got Mom to the airport with plenty of time to spare, got her all checked in and through security, then Kelly and I made our way back to Vienna by train.

Prague was a great way to end a spectacular trip. Kelly & I enjoyed having Mom visit and were sad to see her go....I have a hunch that she'll be back though !

Thanks Mom !

Press play on the video below to hear crazy gypsy music.

28 October 2009

Only in Vienna

Public toilet at an U-bahn station. And it'll only cost you sixty cents.


Like they are going out of style

Halfway through a crate of clementines.


26 October 2009

Damn you Michael Kennedy !

When we lived in Ireland, good friends Mike & Patrice were our frequent co-conspirators on many an event. From pub crawls & lacrosse events to crazy trips and awesome adventures.

Mike & I coached UCD and played on Dublin together as well as Team Ireland. Our ladies came along on the big trips and the four of us conquered many places together including Helsinki, Tallinn, Bruges and Waterford.

We discussed all the places we had been and one night we made a list. It turned out we had all been to many places, around 25-28 countries each.

From then on it became a game. A contest. An obsession.

Mike tried to play it off that I was the one being competitive....then he booked tickets for him & Patrice to spend one day in Norway. He also argued that countries that no longer exist can not be counted, thereby erasing East Germany and Czechoslovakia from my list. (Later reinstating East Germany when his State Union of Serbia & Montenegro came into question)

Then one weekend they snuck off to Andorra...yes, Andorra in the Pyrenees Mountains. The competition was heating up with Patrice being the most country-visiting-rabid of all of us! They make formidable opponents. They recently also flew off to Tunisia making the first African appearance of our motley crew..

Upon arrival in Austria, Kelly and I hit the ground running knocking off Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia in short order. Kelly hopped over to the Czech Republic recently and we're back in the race.

A recent tally shows the leaderboard:
Chris 34 countries
Mike 33 countries
Kelly 32 countries
Patrice 31 countries

All in all good fun.....until I talked to Mike last week. After a pleasant phone call of catching up he says he has to go and then says "Oh and I had one more item I forgot to tell you about....on Friday week (the friday after next), Patrice & I are headed off on a little trip. We're going to Riga (Latvia), St Petersburg (Russia), Minsk (Belarus) and Vilnius (Lithuania)....HOW YA LIKE ME NOW ! BOOO YA KAAAA SHAAAA"

Touche' Michael Kennedy, Touche'...and damn you all to hell!

I am now kicking this competitiojn into a little thing we call overdrive...my new motto comes from Conan the Barbarian. When asked what the best things in life are, he responded :

To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you and to hear the lamentation of their women.

Next month Kelly and I are off to Turkey for Thanksgiving. Hopefully I can find a shuttle bus or something to take me to the Greek and/or Bulgarian borders. I am also just waiting for a spare day when Kelly & I can hop on the train to Liechtenstein...thats right Kennedy, LIECTHENSTEIN ! I'll also get to the Ukraine if I have to skateboard there.

Stay tuned people, this is gonna get ugly.

21 October 2009

The Day Casey Lee Came to Town

Once upon a time there was a pretty, little, serious and silly girl named Casey Lee. She grew up to be smart, strong and sassy and every single one of her aunts loved and adored her. Casey Lee met a nice, funny and handsome lad named both Pat and Turk and one day they took a trip together to visit Casey Lee's Auntie & Uncle in faraway Dublin, Ireland.
The Auntie and Uncle had met Pat/Turk before but this was the first chance they had to really get to know him. They decided that they liked him even if he was a little weird.
And they thought the two made a cute couple, even if they did pick each other's noses.

In Ireland Casey Lee made some new friends...

...discovered she didn't really like Guinness....

...or Irish whiskey.

Pat/Turk found his court....

...his head...
...and did NOT learn to juggle (despite what he and the Uncle claimed.)
Together they saw the sites of Ireland...
...got fresh with a statue of Molly Malone...

...fell asleep in front of Ireland's oldest pub....

...and took their newest favorite Auntie & Uncle to see U2 (thanks guys!!!)

It really was a spectacular visit for the Auntie and Uncle and they were so very happy before, during and after it all (even though it took the Auntie 3 months to do a blog post about it.)
Both the Auntie and Uncle decided that they loved their niece Casey Lee even more that they realized (which they didn't think was possible)...
...and that Pat/Turk was a more than alright guy and his temporary membership to the Haltigan Outlaws Club was extended (even though everyone thinks he smells funny.)

-auntie k.

19 October 2009

Words are fun.

Lolly uses her binoculars to search for the funicular on the map in the vernacular.


12 October 2009

The Perfect Sunday ?

On Sunday I went out to Pickwicks Cafe', an English speaking book shop / video store / coffee shop / bar down near Schwedenplatz for some breakfast, a Guinness and to read. They have hundreds of books laying about so I have been stopping in and reading:
As John Irving is one of Kelly's favorite authors I figured I couldn't go wrong. Its a fabulous read, the only problem is I'm doing it 25-40 pages at a time over one cup of coffee (or one pint of beer).

I did some wandering downtown and since it was Sunday (many museums are free on Sunday) I went to the Roman museum and learned all about Roman Vienna (Vindabona).

Next stop was the English Cinema on Mariahilferstrasse. I got there around 2pm but there weren't any good movies coming up so I decided to kill some time at a Gasthaus. Some of you will remember that when I was making regular trips to Vienna, I would always stop by at a particular pub run by San Franciscan Gary and his Austrian wife Inge.
(see my first visit here)

Well needless to say, "waiting for a movie" turned into another beer...then another....then some pork cutlets with rice, then another beer. Then I decided I should wait it out until Kelly got back from Budapest by train at 6pm which, conveniently, was at the Westbahnhof right down the street.

By 6:30, after 4 hours at the pub, Kelly & Laura showed up and we had a great time eating and drinking with Gary und Inge. Its like hanging out at their house. We had a great time.

We watched Snooker on TV (pool with a bunch of extra balls on a giant table) and Gary also taught us some crazy card game with some wacky cards.

The night ended with appricot schnapps....and a warm fuzzy feeling.

06 October 2009

Austrian Lacrosse Championship Weekend

A great season ended this past weekend with some great lacrosse and some minor controversy.

The undefeated Vienna Cherokees played the undefeated Vienna Monarchs in the Championship. It was a fantastic game, with the Cherokees surprising everyone, including the favored Monarchs with a controlled, disciplined game which was rewarded by an 8-4 lead going into the 4th quarter.

Unfortunately the 'Kees couldn't hold on to the lead and the Monarchs chipped away. At the end of regulation the score was tied 8-8.

..and thats how it ended. Apparently the Austrian league rules currently state that there is no overtime in a championship match, so you go back to the points from the regular season to calculate a winner.

On that note, the Monarchs were declared the winners. The undefeated 3 time defending champion Cherokees will have to wait until next year to set the record straight. The league will be changing their rules in the off season.

The Cherokee girls played very well this weekend also, stomping the Lady Monarchs on Saturday, but losing to the League champion Gladiators from Graz.

Minor problems aside, I'm very happy with the way we played. This off season will be full of improvements so next year the 'Kees will kick some ass !

The National Team is also switching gears and ramping up for the world championships in Manchester next year. Check our web site for more info and find us on Facebook !