A Week in Prague as an MBA Student

Shopping in Prague
Prague Old Town Square Astronomical Clock
Prague Street Market
Street Market in Prague
Prague Old Town Square Sunset
Sunset in Old Town Square PRague
Sunset in Old Town Square Prague
Old Town Square Sunset
Prague Sunset over old town square
Traditional Czech Food
Kozel Brewery Tour
Kozel Beer Brewery Tour
Prague Castle City Views
Bride at Prague Castle
Prague Castle
Chimney Cake Trdelnik
Sunset over Vltava River
Prague Castle at Sunset
Terezin Concentration Camp Memorial
Statue at Terezin
Jewish Quarter Pinkas Synagogue
Prague Jewish Quarter
Prague Jewish Quarter Cemetery
Jewish Quarter Prague Jewish Museum
Prague City Streets
View from Teresa U Prince Prague
Rooftop Cocktail at Teresa U Prince
Prague City Streets
Charles Bridge Prague
Locks at Vltava River Charles Bridge
Prague River View of the Castle
Charles Bridge Musicians
Lennon Wall Prague
John Lennon Wall Prague #lovespreadthatshit

I had the chance to spend a week in Prague as part of my MBA program. To be honest, I didn’t do much research on the area before going so I had limited expectations. I’m usually not fond of travelling with a group, but this allowed me to finish up my program early and visit a new place. Win.

Because I was traveling as part of a school sponsored trip we had the opportunity to do some things that as a normal tourist I wouldn’t necessarily have been able to do, but that also meant missing out on certain things. Each day we visited one or two businesses and had the opportunity to meet with the company leaders. One of the most interesting visits was to Manufaktura. This could be equated to a US version of Bath and Body Works or Body Shop, but on a smaller scale. It was great to see the products being made and all the research going in to new products. I ended up really liking the skin care products I bought. The other business visit I really enjoyed was the headquarters for McDonald’s in the Czech Republic. We met with the Vice President of Marketing who was very engaging and knowledgeable.

Our trip was so planned out that we didn’t have the opportunity to try out many local spots. The few times we did try the local cuisine I can honestly say I was not a fan. It was very heavy with lots of meats and thick sauces. I normally try to take in as much local food and culture as I can when I go somewhere new, but again traveling with a large group in my opinion makes that harder. We ate lots of Italian food, and found it to be quite good most of the places we stopped in. I have since learned that there is quite a large Vietnamese population in Prague. I wish I had done just a bit more research before the trip and maybe found a few Vietnamese restaurants to try. As a side note, dining out in Prague was quite interesting for us, as we were often in larger groups. Typically the wait staff will not split the bill unless you ask, end even then they still may not. I also found that the waiters want to leave you to enjoy your meal, this means they will not check back often. When you are ready to leave you will have to let them know in no uncertain terms you would like to pay and leave, otherwise they will not bring the check. It’s not bad service, just that the cultural expectation is much different.

The city itself overall seemed VERY touristy and was quite crowded. While it is absolutely beautiful there I don’t know that if I had the chance to go back I would stay for a full week. There honestly just didn’t seem like there was that much to see. Walking around the historic areas of the city was really enjoyable (side note it is v easy to get lost as they do not believe in city blocks) and for the most part allowed you to see all the highlights. I did use the metro a few times while I was there and found that it was really easy to use. Overall the city was clean and felt very safe as well. The party scene in Prague is HUGE. That phase of my life is over…. if it wasn’t I would probably have more to report on the late night scene, which I hear is tons of fun!

Here’s a few of the places I visited that I would recommend checking out if you’re ever in Prague:

  • Old Town Square – The hotel we stayed in was a short walk from the city center at Old Town Square. The famous astronomical clock can be found here. The square will fill up at the top of every hour as people gather round to see the clock. We witnessed some beautiful sunsets here as well. From here you can find your way into high end shopping, touristy shopping, and plenty of restaurants. We were cautioned by the locals to avoid restaurants in this area due to price gauging, but honestly didn’t find this to be the case.
  • Terezin – A concentration camp that is about a 45 minute drive outside the city. Known for being a “propaganda” camp of the Nazis, it was used to convince the Red Cross and others who were concerned for the safety of the Jews that the camps were actually providing a positive experience. It was truly horrifying to see it in real life, but at the same time having a better understanding of this history is so vital.
  • Jewish Quarter – This is a neighborhood in Prague where Jewish families were forced to settle. The Jewish Museum and several historic synagogues are located in the neighborhood. The walls of Pinkas Synagogue contain the hand written names of 80,000 Czech & Moravian Jews who did not survive the holocaust. There is a rich Jewish history here that is worth exploring.
  • Kozel Brewery Tour – Any trip to the Czech Republic is likely going to include lots of beer! The Czech people drink more beer per capita than anywhere in the world and are also known for their beer producers. You will find that the beer is very cheap, cheaper than water! Kozel is a well known Czech beer and they offer tours of the historic building where they have been in production for over a century. We ate at the onsite restaurant here as well and enjoyed the food.
  • Teresa U Prince – A rooftop restaurant and bar located directly across from the astronomical clock. The view of the city is stunning and the food and drinks were quite good as well. It is located on top of the Hotel U Prince but there are no obvious signs that it is there, ask the bellman when you enter the hotel lobby to show you to the correct elevator. I loved eating lunch and having cocktails solo on the rooftop!
  • John Lennon Wall – The Lennon Wall sits just over the Charles Bridge from the main part of town. It is about a city block area of street art that is constantly changing. Worth checking out even if you aren’t a Beatles fan as there really isn’t much to do with The Beatles.
  • Marina Ristorante – A restaurant that is on a (large) docked boat in the Vltava River near the city center. Eat here for the atmosphere and the views, although the food wasn’t bad. The view of the castle and the rest of the city was beautiful. We stumbled upon the restaurant and had no issues eating here with a large group without reservations.
  • Parlour Bar – Seriously cool cocktail bar near Wenceslas Square. It is off the main road and has no sign, and is definitely not a place you will find many other tourist. The vibe is cool and the made to order cocktails were delicious.
  • Letna Beer Garden – Full disclosure we walked all the way here and up a massive hill in the dark to get here and it was closed (the hours listed online were not correct). This seems to be a summer time/warm weather/daylight place. Regardless the view of the city is beautiful. There is a restaurant and tons of outdoor seating. I would hike back up the massive hill to actually enjoy this any summer day again.
  • Prague Castle – It is hard to imagine that the castle was built over 1000 years ago. We did a self guided tour and basically saw the highlights one evening before it closed. It is stunning and the history is unbelievable. I would do a guided tour if I had the opportunity to go back, as the castle is huge and just filled with so much history that I’m sure a guide would do a better job explaining.
  • Charles Bridge – Beautiful historic (pedestrian only) bridge over the Vltava River that was built in the 1300’s. From Old Town Square you can cross over the bridge on the way to the Castle if you’re walking. The bridge has many historic statues as well as views of the city. Warning…it gets VERY crowded and while Prague was generally safe places like this are known for pickpockets.
  • Chimney Cake – Also known as a Trdelnik. This is a hollow tube of dough that is covered in sugar. You have the option to fill it with ice cream and different toppings. Based on what we were told by the locals, it is not really a “tradtional” Czech food but instead something that was created for the tourist. Regardless you can’t go wrong with a sugary dough filled with ice cream and chocolate syrup. You will see tourist lined up all over town at spots selling theses.

Hi from Quarantine…

wearing a mask and face shield in 2020

It’s been awhile since I checked in around this corner of the internet. WOW! Has 2020 been a weird year or what?!?!

Here’s a quick update on what’s been happening in my neck of the woods this year.

We got a puppy on January 3rd. She has been the absolute best thing of 2020 so far.

cavalier king charles spaniel puppy

cavalier king charles spaniel puppy

cavalier king charles spaniel puppy

cavalier king charles spaniel puppy

cavalier king charles spaniel puppy

cavalier king charles spaniel puppy

I started a new job on January 6th. I did all the training and traveling and all. the. things. for the job from January until March. The job had not been at all what was promised and honestly turned out to be sort of a dumpster fire. On March 18th I came home to work from home and have basically been in social distancing mode ever since. A couple weeks after working from home I was placed on temporary furlough, and with the job really not shaping up to be what I had hoped, I asked for my old job back. I was beyond lucky to have left on a good note and I was offered my job back. I do not take for granted how many people are absolutely not in this same situation now.

For about the last five weeks I have been working one to two days a week at my old/current job. As things *hopefully* get better I will be able to work in person in the office more and more. Right now things are still a complete mess where I live and only getting worse.  As a side note, if you are someone who is opposed to wearing a mask in public I would like to know why you never protested having to wear shoes into Walmart?

I have painted almost my entire house. Planted a garden. (It’s mostly dead now but who’s counting?) Gone for MANY walks. And eaten all the junk foods! But y’all I am OVER. IT. Don’t get me wrong I’m still mostly staying home and following all the rules, but I sure wish I didn’t have to anymore.

full moon over the ocean

full moon

cocktails and a full moon

fourth of july fireworks with a full moon

egret in the marsh

In mid May we started to feel comfortable traveling by car to our beach house again so we are VERY lucky to have had the option of changing scenery. It’s obvious that we aren’t alone in needing a new view as I have honestly never seen so many people at the beach. We are able to find a place to keep to ourselves when we go out on the beach and have avoided going inside bars and restaurants so we feel like we are being responsible.

I feel beyond lucky that 2019 was our epic year. We did so much travelling last year and even had a destination wedding go off without a hitch in the middle of hurricane season in Jamaica. I can’t imagine what we would be going through if 2020 had been the year for all of that. I feel for anyone who has had to cancel big trips they planned for months. Planning a wedding was a true nightmare in best case scenario so I feel for you if 2020 was your year!

I had hoped to use all my new found free time catching up on last years trips and photos here on the blog, but we’re officially four months into quarantine and I’m just getting started. Honestly, it just felt so depressing looking back at photos of us travelling and having the time of our life when going to the grocery store now feels like the closest I’ll get to a vacation this year.

#WanderlustWednesday

The Perfect Parisian Sunset

Paris, France

#sacrecouer #montmarte #sunsetviews

  • Want to work for the royals and get paid to travel? The Queen is hiring a Director of Royal Travel.
  • Did you make it to any of the top 20 most visited cities in 2019?
  • A recent flight spent 11 hours in the air, with the passengers ultimately going nowhere due to a volcano and horses.
  • It’s not too late to take advantage of Southwest’s Cyber Monday deals!
  • The effect social media is having on travel. People are only visiting “gram-worthy” spots.

Hiking to the Top of Diamond Head

diamond head state monument
hiking to the top of diamond head
hiking to the top of diamond head oahu hawaii
view from the lookout diamond head trail
diamond head hike lookout view
diamond head lookout view
diamond head hike tunnel
tunnel to the top of diamond head
stairs to the top of diamond head
view from the pillbox at the top of diamond head
pillbox on top of diamond head
top of diamond head
Honolulu skyline view from the top of diamond head
top of diamond head
gorgeous view from the top of the diamond head trail
Oahu Hawaii Diamond Head Hike
Hawaii Pineapple Stand
Dole Whip
Hawaii Dole Whip Treat

One of our favorite things we did on our trip to Oahu was to climb to the top of Diamond Head. There are plenty of beautiful hikes on the island, many that are lesser known and probably less crowded, but we decided to take the path more traveled…

Although I have been to Oahu before this was my first time doing this hike. Parking was an issue the day we went. We waited for quite awhile in traffic to head up the hill to the small parking lot and found that it was full. We drove back down the hill and parked at a nearby school. I had the brilliant idea to take an Uber back up the steep hill, instead of starting our hike a very steep mile sooner than we planned. This worked out great, and on the way back we were able to walk back to the car down the hill with no issues.

The hike is not terribly difficult, but towards the end there were quite a few stairs, and we ended up in a narrow tunnel which I was not prepared for and totally did not like.  We also took a turn that led us to a small pillbox that we had to crawl out of to see the view. After the hike we were told that we could have taken a turn to miss both the tunnel and the pillbox, so if like me, you’re not a fan of small spaces maybe do some research on that.

On the way down we saw Yasiel Puig full out running up the trail with his training team as we were coming down. If you’re all who is that? Same. But Sean was impressed.

Overall we really enjoyed the hike and the views from the top were definitely worth the stairs and the tight spaces. We finished off the hike with a Dole whip that was well earned.

#WanderlustWednesday

Napa Valley Oakville Grocery

Oakville, California

#CaliforniaDreamin #WineCountry #NapaValley

  • NASA is wishing everyone a very Happy Halloween with their latest image of the sun!
  • A few tips from the New York Times on what to pack to make your travel photos standout on Instagram. (also making it clear that Instagram has taken over the world, since this is now newsworthy)
  • Do you use a travel agent to book your travel? Having just used one for the first time I would agree with the pros and cons in this article.
  • Discount travel sites often use the “only one room left” tactic, but is it true?
  • Vacasa becomes the newest travel site to enter the home rental market, attempting to set itself apart from other options as a full service management  company.

#WanderlustWednesday

Sunset on the Gulf Coast Siesta Key Florida

Siesta Key, Florida

#VisitFL #Sunsettin #GulfOfMexico

  • Lonely Planet released their best of 2020 travel this week. It’s a lot to take in but so many good travel ideas.
  • A JetBlue employee is facing 20 years in prison for scamming the company out of nearly $800,000.
  • A Japanese airline is developing  robots that could soon be doing your travel for you.
  • #Fauxliage season is in full swing. Here are some of the best pumpkin patches around the world to capture Gram-worthy photos.
  • Delta is now offering Sky Miles Select for $59 per year. Is it worth it?

Life Lately

Fall at the National Parks
Blue Ridge Music Center
Hiking at the Blue Ridge Music Center
Hiking at the Blue Ridge Music Center
Fall Drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Blue Ridge Parkway Music Center
Hiking at the Blue Ridge Parkway Music Center
IMG_3871

fall day in the mountains

Wedding Sunset in Jamaica

unedited sneak peek of the most epic sunset after the wedding 

Time for a quick update on life lately. It has turned to full blown fall overnight. If you saw my Instagram post last week you know that I am a summer girl! I live for summer days, flip flops, and sunshine. So while the rest of the world is buying pumpkin spice everything, I’m over here daydreaming about summer.

I can hardly believe that we were married in Jamaica almost a month ago. I cannot wait to share more! I loved our photographer that we worked with; there is a 6-14 week turnaround for the photos so we are anxiously awaiting them! We had the most epic sunset the night of the wedding that I know is going to make for great photos. I’ll probably overshare once we get them! We got married at the Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall and then went to Negril for a short mini moon at the Rockhouse Hotel.

Since coming home life has been all kinds of crazy. In an effort to get in the fall spirit we took a road trip into the Blue Ridge Mountains. The leaves had just started turning, and it was a perfect day trip. Seeing the leaves start to change does give me all the #fallfeels. We visited the Blue Ridge Music Center for the first time. There is a small museum here that explains the history of mountain music, free music outdoors, and a very nice hiking trail. We really enjoyed it. It is right on the Blue Ridge Parkway so the drive in is beautiful as well. On the way home we stopped at nearby Round Peak Vineyards for a glass of wine and to take in the view. Our final stop was at Skull Camp Brewing for a late lunch. Overall the perfect fall day trip.

We leave for our actual honeymoon in Paris in a few weeks and would love any and all recommendations you have on visiting the City of Lights!

#WanderlustWednesday

Fall in Zurich

Fall in Zurich

#Switzerland #CH #Limmat

  • The best selling travel book of all time is getting a makeover.
  • AirBnB released a list of their top travel destinations for 2020. Not throwing shade but – Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Really?!?
  • A town in Italy is now posting warnings not to follow Google Maps after multiple rescue missions of misguided tourists. Apparently we need signs to tell people not to drive their Porsche over a cliff?
  • My home state has a new travel ambassador. Meet Mo, the four legged #visitNC travel guide.
  • Not all that newsworthy or surprising but a new survey finds Millenials “will work for travel.”

Visiting Oahu, Hawaii in Winter

oahu views from the punchbowl
view of diamondhead from the punchbowl
honolulu skylive views

Honolulu views from the Punchbowl

good morning from marriott ko olina
waking up in Oahu

why yes we did wake up like this…..

morning coffee at marriott ko olina resort
north shore oahu beach days
monk seal napping on the north shore
beach chickens
Hawaiian chicken

new friends on the beach

matsumoto shave ice best shave ice on the island

voted best shave ice on Oahu

ka'ena point state park
ka'ena point state park
ka'ena point state park

Ka’ena Point State Park 

nothing beats a Hawaiian sunset
hawaiian sunset
hawaiian sunset
hawaiian sunset
hawaiian sunset
hawaiian sunset
very happy in hawaii

the sunsets in Hawaii are unreal

Nico's Pier 38 lunch views

lunch views from Nico’s Pier 38

North Shore Oahu Hawaii
Warning No Swimming North Shore Oahu Hawaii
North Shore Surfers Oahu Hawaii
North Shore Surfers Oahu
North Shore Oahu Hawaii
North Shore Beach Days
Surfboard Gate North Shore Oahu

I love the North Shore.

I have been fortunate enough to visit Hawaii several times. All of the trips have been during the coldest, dreariest months on the east coast and it is such a welcome relief from the grey days. You may have noticed by now, that I struggle to post in real time, and that’s OK. #WinterIsComing again this year, and this will still be relevant then. Plus – it’s never actually winter in Hawaii so go whenever you want. Now that’s settled, on with our trip.

We stayed at the Marriott Ko Olina Beach Resort, and we could not love this place more. It was the third time I have stayed here and the views, the room, the pool, everything is great. The rooms are all condos so you have room to spread out and can cook in the room if you want. We made breakfast in most days, and also used the grills a few nights for dinner. We were also perfectly happy with all of the food and drinks that we had at the resorts restaurants and bars.

Ko Olina is a resort area on the southwest end of the island of Oahu. There is also a Disney Resort here and a Four Seasons. Each of the resorts are self contained on their own private a bay, meaning that you don’t necessarily encounter the guests from any of the other resorts unless you want to. But, being that there are so many resorts in the area, restaurants and shops have popped up nearby, so you have more to choose from. The only  restaurant in Ko Olina that we tried on this trip was Monkey Pod, and it was fantastic. We loved the outdoor area and listening to the music. I particularly like the Ko Olina area because it is not busy. It is about a 30 minute drive from Waikiki Beach which is where people often think of when they visit Oahu. While Waikiki is beautiful as well, it can be quite crowded in the tourist areas.

For the most part, we just relaxed and toured around the island. We ate our weight in poke, we drank drinks with little umbrellas in them, we watched the sunset everyday. You know, the good stuff. I don’t have an earth shattering guide to the island but just a few fun things that we did and loved.

We spent two of the days on the beach at the North Shore. During the winter months the waves here are unbelievable and just watching the surfers all day while I relax in the sunshine is enough for me. We had shave iced one day and acai bowls one day, because whats a trip to Hawaii without those? We also pulled over on a random beach on the way to check out a monk seal that was sunning herself.

We hiked Diamond Head for the first time. The views from the top are beautiful, and well worth the hike up. More on this later.

We toured Pearl Harbor as well. I have been before and like the last time it was such a somber experience to think about what happened there. It was kind of a bummer not to be able to get out of the boat and go onto the memorial platform, as I had this opportunity on a previous trip, but still worth experiencing history first hand the way that you are able to here.

As for restaurants… We had a delicious lunch at Uncle Bobo’s after we randomly came across it driving around the island. We enjoyed an amazing dinner at Duke’s on Waikiki Beach. The Hula Pie at Duke’s is worth every. single. calorie. We loved the lunch we had at Nico’s Pier 38. They have a huge variety of things, and it was fun to sit outside and watch the ships be unloaded. We had a fun lunch at Lulu’s on Waikiki beach. The view and vibe here was the best  part. Finally, we discovered Paul John’s Lumpia which is a Filipino restaurant in a neighborhood in Kapolei. The food here was good and it was really nice to try something different, as this is not something we would usually find at home.

We spent last our last afternoon at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. Before, you’re all like, who spends their afternoon in a cemetery… it is located in what is called Punchbowl Crater. It sits high above Honolulu, the views here are stunning, and their is of course a lot of history to take in as well. It was the perfect stop to spend some time taking in the views before heading to the airport.

I also have two cousins who live on Oahu. (How lucky are they?) One is a teacher and one is in the Marine’s stationed at Kaneohe Bay. It was really fun to get to see both of them on the trip.

As a completely random side note, if you’re going to Hawaii from the east coat of the US (like us) I prefer my connection to be in Dallas or Phoenix. I have found that although the travel time is essentially the same, when you connect on the west coast (usually LAX) the flight isn’t quite as long so you end up on a somewhat smaller plane that isn’t as comfortable. And it is still a long flight from LAX. We typically fly American so that could have something to do with it too. And for anyone still wondering if the tortuously long flight will be worth it. YES. It will.

Have you been to Hawaii before? What island was your favorite? What time of year did you go? What were some favorite things you did?

Hawaiian Sunset

#WanderlustWednesday

Route 1 California Coast

Pacific Coast Highway

#Route1 #Sonoma #California

  • Hopefully you don’t have any travel plans with British Airways this week.
  • Are Instagram Influencers actually ruining the travel experience for others?
  • Much of the Bahamas was ravaged by hurricane Dorian, here’s the parts of the island nation that are open for business and could use your tourist dollars.
  • Here’s where everyone is traveling to from the US by state.
  • The World Economic Forum just named the world’s best country for travel. Hint – The country won the award for the third year running.