Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Back in the 41017

It's been a week since we returned from the wonderful birthday trip. I still have a few days off before I go back to flying...so it truly has been a fabulous vacation. I have been able to ease back into a routine of time at the shop, knitting/crocheting, napping and spring cleaning. 50 ain't so bad!
50 Ain't SO Bad!

It has been a few weeks since I started a new project. At first, it was a little bit like going through withdrawl. But, I have some great projects on the needles and I like them all enough to keep plugging away at them. I think the key for me is to stay off Ravelry!

I'm am thrilled that so many people followed our journey via the Prog Blog and Facebook. Social media is amazing. Everyone asks, "What was the best part of the trip?" or "What was your favorite place?"  These are really tough questions to answer.

Prague (or if John were writing this- Prog in the Check Republic) was everything that people told us it would be. It was beautiful and full of history. We loved our comfortable yet small hotel that was tucked in the top of the hillside across from Prague Castle. It was weird that Prague was so busy during the day and practically deserted after sunset. We figure that the bus tours and cruise ships pack tons of visitors to Prague for the day. The best part of Prague was our car trip to Cesky Krumlov, a charming, little walled city about an hour and a half drive from Prague. Jill suggested we go and I'm glad we did!
Cesky Krumlov

We took a train from Prague to Budapest and I enjoyed the 8 hours of knitting time.
I thought Prague was amazing (and still do) but Budapest was even better! It is a mix of modern and ancient with the most beautiful architecture and public spaces I have ever seen. Everything was done with a flair for aesthetics. Thanks to Capt'n John, I don't think we missed a single pastry shop. Budapest is definitely someplace I hope to return to soon where I think three days in Prague was sufficient.
Parliament in Budapest

From Budapest we flew to Paris. Paris was the perfect ending. We did not have enough time to explore everything and I don't think you could ever see everything Paris has to offer. We stayed at the Hilton Arc de Triumph, a gorgeous art deco hotel.

Now that I'm back...I think the best part of the trip was being able to explore the sights, sounds and flavors of the world but realizing that home is the very best place of all.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

End of Prog Blog-Jet Lag

What a fabulous trip! This trek was my 5oth birthday present from Captain John and we couldn't have had a better time--it was a homerun. We got First or business class on ALL of our flights and miraculously had wonderful weather everywhere we went. Prague was great, Budapest was an unexpected delight and Paris was the icing on the cake.

We got back Monday afternoon and I'm afraid my body is still in vacation mode. The 8 hour plane ride back has me all confused about when to sleep and eat and my mind is still not ready to tackle my stack of mail, piles of laundry and the other responsibilities of the real world.

Tomorrow (Tuesday), I head back to Knitwits with one finished sock for Capt'n John, 18" of entrelac scarf and a still unfinished Color Affection shawl. I didn't get much knitting done and I didn't see any yarn shops in Europe. In fact, I didn't even see anyone knitting the whole trip.

It was my intention to blog everyday and document the sights, sounds and flavors of the journey. My intentions were good but the execution was terrible. Most of my photos included fingers or other unintended objects and the food was always halfway eaten when I remembered that I wanted to photograph it. Internet connections were the other glitch--I'm just not IT savvy enough to download, transfer and connect yet.
Ed and Regina Fort

For those of you that are thinking about a European vacation, DO IT!...but here is some advice.
  1. Take one carry one suitcase per person and make sure that you check the acceptable size and weight restrictions on all of the carriers. We flew from Budapest to Paris on EasyJet and my suitcase was the only one that didn't need to be checked. They charge an additional 30 Euros for a checked bag and they aren't very lenient--purses and laptops must fit in the ONE bag.
  2. Keep small change in your pockets. Most WC's will charge you to use the facilities.
  3. We ended up buying an International Data Plan for John's iPhone after a few days so we could use the map functions and google stuff. The plans are fairly inexpensive and are prorated by days and not by how much data you use. 
  4. Our travel companions, Ed and Regina Fort, researched hotels on the internet and got great deals on 4 and 5 star accommodations. They read all of the customer reviews looking for comments on noise, convenience, cleanliness, etc.
  5. Late April is a great time to go to Europe. Spring Break is over and peak travel season rates seem to start on May 1st.
  6. We downloaded Zuti apps on our phones, high quality mapping apps for Apple iPhones, iPod touch, iPad & Android. Clear scrollable detailed maps of the worlds transport systems that show you the routes to take from one destination to another.
  7. With the exception on one skirt, I wore everything in my suitcase and I was not "that person" struggling with the suitcase the whole time. The must have items were KU fleece Jacket, raincoat/windbreaker, Cuddl duds, big colorful scarf that Sarah Haney gave me for birthday and gloves. I was never without the gorgeous, oversized scarf--it was perfect for taking the chill off and looked great.
  8. Take the "hop on, hop off" guided tours and get a great overview of the city before you head out on your own. In Budapest, our tickets were good for two days and we used it as transportation for most of our stay.
  9. Don't stress out over blogging, taking pictures and knitting! You're on VACATION!