|The rest of the summer was spent doing various things, but it was HOT all summer!! I guess there were record temperatures all over the world. Iva's boyfriend Richard, from England, said that the climate has changed the past few years so much there that now England can grow its own tea! I guess it's a big deal there because they drink so much of it. The bad part is, they are not used to anything close to hot weather over here, so nobody has air conditioning!! A few stores have it, but that's about all. They have never needed it before. It's usually in the low to mid 70's all summer. They don't really even have fans! It's really terrible not to be able to get out of the heat. Eva's dad said he doesn't remember anything like it before in his life. Most of the summer it was in the low to mid 90's.
Almost every weekend we went to the weekend house in Svijansky Ujezd in Cesky Raj (Czech Paradise). The house there was a little cooler, but there wasn't a whole lot to do because they are remodeling and doing a lot of landscaping. However, the area is beautiful and we did a lot of bike riding, picking cherries, hunting for blueberries and mushrooms in the forest, and hanging out at the pub. When Richard was there we also went to visit Prachovske Skaly, the rock formations that I had visited with Eva last year. We also visited some castles and went to a lake that is kind of close by.
Every year in the summer Svijansky Ujezd, which is about the size of Bern, hosts a huge beer fest. Everyone in the region comes and the Svijany brewery makes a killing. There are tents all over with each of the brewery's 10+ kinds of beer, plus all kinds of food stands, games, bands, and carnival rides. It was really fun, and the next day you could see people lying all over in the streets, under the trees, and anywhere throughout the village that you can think of!
We also went a couple times to Harrachov, where Eva's family has a ski apartment in the Czech mountains. The mountains are small, but the town is really nice and I really like it there. Once we took the bikes and took them up the ski lift to the top of the mountains, where we rode them on a long, awesome trail through the mountains. The scenery was amazing, but the hills could be a bit much when riding up! The town is kind of touristy and popular with Germans, Czechs, and Dutch, so it is really well kept and nice to walk around in. They even have an alpine slide!
We also went to a few concerts throughout the summer. The first one was the Red Hot Chili Peppers, held in Sazka Arena in Prague. It was okay, but I really wasn't too impressed. The next one was Robbie Williams and was and open-air concert in Dresden, Germany. For those of you who don't know Robbie Williams, he is the most popular singer in the UK and probably all of Europe. We couldn't believe we even got tickets. He has sold more tickets and his concerts have sold out faster than anyone in British history, including the Beatles! I don't know why he hasn't gotten popular in the U.S. The concert was awesome, even if we were a ways back, and he is a really good performer. His concerts are major productions, so they had a massive stage, huge fireballs, tons of lights, platforms, and he even came down from the top. The last concert we went to was James Blunt, which was probably my favorite. He performed right next to Prague Castle, which was awesome, and the crowd was relatively small, so we were pretty close to the stage. It was the last concert of his tour and absolutely amazing. I even saw my Czech Language teacher from last year at the concert!
The rest of the time was just spend hanging out in Prague, helping out with their business, and riding with Eva when she had to take products to Germany. I tried to make sure I visited my favorite places from last year. We went and saw Masarykova dorms where I lived, and we ate at Grossetto's, the awesome pizza place close by. We also went to the tourist sights a few times, the castle, Charles Bridge, Petrin Hill, Old Town Square, etc. And of course I didn't forget the fried cheese!! I also had to watch the dirty cheating Italians win the World Cup. The U.S. and the Czech Republic didn't even make it into the playoffs. We also went to some good restaurants. Probably my favorite was a Brazilian all-you-can-eat place. It was pretty fancy, but fairly cheap compared to what you would pay for it in the U.S. They have a buffet bar filled with all kinds of different foods. Sushi, oysters, cheeses, and all kinds of weird salads just to name a few. After sitting down, the waiters begin to come around. There are about 15 of them, coming almost constantly with huge pieces of meat on long skewers that they have cooked. If you want their meat, they will slice however much you want. It is wise to just take a small amount, because there is A LOT of food!! There are all kinds of South American-style beef, pork, sausages, chicken, turkey, lamb, and fish. Sometimes they also come with things like shrimp, baby octopus, crawfish, or grilled pineapple. My favorites were the different kinds of beef and the pineapple. It was amazing! I ate until I literally got sick and almost threw up! I think the warm pineapple may have been the cause.
Anyway, the summer was a lot of fun, relaxing, but really hot! It was cool just to live a sort-of normal life (without working much) and just see how the daily life is for normal people over there. Last year I was living in the dorms with Americans and traveling all the time, but this summer I was completely immersed, so it was really neat. I left on August 2nd to come back home, bringing with me about 12 pounds of cheese, 5 pounds of chocolate, 2 packages of coffee, and 2 boxes of really awesome cherry juice (which leaked and ruined two shirts). On the way home my flight was delayed in Milan so I missed my flight in Atlanta. I then got bumped on my next flight and was put up in a Crown Plaza and got a $400 voucher! I arrived home on the 3rd safe and sound without a penny to my name (almost).