Beer Spa

Are you a beer lover like myself and John?! (funny story, John and I met drinking “boots” from my favorite German bar in the Midwest). It was only fitting that I show off the amazing beer Czechia has to offer during his visit to Prague!


 What’s better then drinking a cold one in Prague with your boyfriend?! Drinking self serve unlimited beer while in a spa filled with Czech hops! 😉 

John and I visited Bernard beer spa in Prague 2 and we’re quite impressed with this fun Czech experience. Not only was our “beer bath” filled with vitamin B, it consisted of endless laughs, and an experience we will always remember. 

Prior to our beer spa, I read up on benefits of bathing in hops. As stated by multiple sources, with the proper mixture and temperature, beer spas regenerate skin and hair, assist in circulation, and relieve stress (I will admit, sitting in a warm tub while drinking 3 beers babck to back, is a major stress relief 😉)- all enough for me to give a beer spa a try. 

Although myself and John didn’t notice any overly obvious changes to our skin, it was nothing short of enjoyable laying in a beer spa, sipping beers and sharing stories. The beer? Like all Czech beer, Bernard was very good, and had us feeling like beer masters quickly refilling our glasses. 

If you are even in Czechia or Hungary, I recommend you visit a beer spa for a unforgettable unique experience and try out this ancient remedy 🍻. 

Embrace Uncertainty

The past few months have been quite the journey. Soon marking my second month of teaching, so much has become. 

It is truly beautiful watching my students develop each lesson, day and week. As an educator, I am always looking at progress of others. I see every tiny bit of growth in each of my students on the daily, and am constantly thinking of ways in which I can assist them in continuing to gain new skills. My view on my students is always positive, even when working with challenging behaviors or instances (we know children can be molded at this age, and behavior has so much to do with the environment a child is in, allowing it to to be shifted by the adults in a child’s life). Reflecting upon my teaching style, and the way I view the little humans in my classroom, I reflected upon myself and how I react to my own growth. 

Reflecting caused me to realize, I can be giving myself a lot more credit for every day accomplishments- and I’m sure YOU can too. I am and always have been quite critical on my self and often forget to acknowledge and celebrate even the smallest of moments in each day.  

I realized, I can and should become more aware of all of the “small things” (things I would view as great milestones when tracking progress of my students or watching someone else’s successes) that I accomplish that allow me to meet large goals and enjoy the beauty of becoming. So, I have set a goal to write down an accomplishment at the end of the day everyday for a month. (I can put my list making obsession to use for the hundredth time each day) 😋

The recent stress regarding my Visa has allowed me to take a step back, and embrace and acknowledge EVERY step of the journey and embrace uncertainty. 

Although my plan has not gone as intended for my upcoming trip to the States for my sister’s wedding, things have worked out better then I initially planned. 

Due to delays in processing my Visa, I will be leaving the country sooner then intended so that I have no issues when returning to the EU after the wedding. This means, more time with family and friends before the wedding- allowing my overall trip to be less rushed and more enjoyable. 

I am also able to now spend extra time with my boyfriend after his trip to Prague and visit his family and home in Ireland ❤️ (life works out in the funniest ways). 

As I am continually reminded by the unpredictability of life: 

Embrace uncertainty 

Trust the wait 

And enjoy ALL of the in between
I challenge you to also make a list of accomplishments (one per day) for a month and see how you feel towards yourself by doing so. 😊 

Self health is the greatest health. 
Thanks for reading, 

X Jackie 

#handmadetravel #theworldinherhands

Top Five Things About Living in Prague

IMG_20170818_134228614As I have been living in Prague for a little over a month, and I have been a bit MIA with life updates, I thought it would be fitting to compile a list of my favorite things about Prague thus far. I expect that this list will grow and change over my continued time in the Czech Republic. What do I love most about Prague and the Czech Republic? Here it goes!

 

The Beauty of the City

Prague is a gorgeous city whose beauty continues to amaze me. Not a day goes by that I do not enjoy walking around, taking in the beauty of the architecture and landscapes. The city is very clean and the cobble stoned streets, make walks feel straight out of a fairytale. Not only is the city center beautiful, each district has unique and stunning architecture, making strolls throughout the entire city a treat (and a lot longer journeys then google maps suggests because of constant stops at amazing finds).

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Parks and Nature

Along with Prague’s beauty comes Czechs love and enjoyment of nature. Prague offers so many beautiful spots to enjoy the outdoors. Even in the city, you can find spots where you can enjoy greenery, wildlife and pure relaxation. Some of my favorite spots have quickly become Riegrovy Sady, Vltava River, Letna Park, Petrin Hill, and Vysehrad. The parks in Prague are very well maintained and guarantee a perfect spot for whatever your outdoor niche may be. Czechs are extremely active and love sport, so it is quite enjoyable and motivating seeing locals running, cycling, playing football, rollerbladding, practicing yoga, working out at outdoor gyms, and really any sport imaginable. Looking so forward to venturing outside of Prague and experiencing more of the Czech Republics natural beauty.

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The Food

Prague has an awesome food scene with super trendy restaurants, cozy cafes, outdoor markets, and classic pubs. I must say I cannot keep away from the markets and the chance to try fresh Czech food just a block away from my flat for very reasonable prices (every Wednesday- Saturday, Jiriho z Podebrad holds the Jirák market- highly recommend to all visitors). The cafes here also are my favorite, offering delicious coffee and deserts of all sorts. Along side Czech restaurants, Prague also has quite the selection of international cuisine. Prague is home to many Vietnamese restaurants specializing in pho. Thankful for all of the walking and the active lifestyle that I live here so that I can enjoy all of the amazing food and beverages! 😉

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The Relaxed Pace of Living

Something that was quickly apparent is the relaxed and easy life that is lived in Prague. People value the quality of experiences over the quantity. It is refreshing to see young people sitting inside a coffee shop for hours at a time chatting with friends, parents allowing their toddler to put back on their shoe that has fallen off without immediately doing it for them, people walking to work with ease. The simplest of things seem so well enjoyed and not rushed. Czechs also greatly value time with family and friends and it is beautiful watching young families in the simplest of moments (yes I am the obvious foreigner smiling at complete strangers).  Life here makes you reflect upon your patience and enjoy day to day life.

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The Cost of Living

Prague is a fairly inexpensive place to live, making it quite easy to have a more then comfortable lifestyle. From food, to entertainment, to housing, prices are very fair and make it a lovely city to live and enjoy the finer things in life (travel, shopping, alcohol, food 😉).  What I find most impressive is the cost of food- I am blow away by the amount of high quality produce I can purchase for less then a third of what I spend in the States. Travel within Prague as well as the Czech Republic is also very inexpensive making it a must to venture to other parts of the country. My round trip train fare to Karlstejn was 99kc and my lunch was 40kc allowing me to explore a new city for the afternoon under $8 USD. Ah, and the beer is cheaper then water at an average price of $1.50 USD for quality Czech beer.

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I cannot wait to discover more of the Czech Republic and share my favorites and not so favorites with you all.

Thanks for reading,

Jackie

#handmadetravel

#theworldinherhands

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vinohrady, Praha

I cannot believe that tomorrow marks one week in Prague. It seems like it has been at least three weeks that I have been here with all that  has occurred. Things got off to a rough start upon arrival at O’Hare airport in Chicago. (Was required to book a return flight back to American within 90 days of arrival in Prague in order to board my flight). A bit stressful as I was told I’d be sent for further questioning when arriving in the EU without a return flight booked, and could potentially be send back to the states. Looking back, this seemed a but extreme, but I booked a super expensive refundable flight to cover all bases. The remainder of my flights went just fine, and I arrived into Prague on time.

Upon arrival, I stayed at at a hotel as I thought was just a bit off the beaten path, but was definitely huge culture shock arriving to the hotel I booked for three evenings. It was in not the greatest of areas, and was all Czech quests, which was fine, just not the experience I was expecting based on my previous stay in hostels (tons of English speaking people from all over the world). I guess if one thing, it forced me to manuver transport completely indepdently from arrival, as well as definitely did not seem as if I were on vacation (the feeling I had had leading up to my trip).

I scheduled an apartment viewing the day I arrived, which also forced me to get out and about. Unfortunately ended with me being over an hour late to the visit as I got terribly lost. The owner was kind enough to wait for me, although clearly not happy about it.

It was not what I was looking for with how expensive it was, so the search continued. After endless calls and emails to different realitors around the city, I had three more viewings set up throughout the week. Again, they all were a bit too expensive for what they were in non preferred locations. Tuesday morning, I received a call from someone I contacted informing me that the flat I inquired about was not available, but there was one similar available on Wednesday. I immediately set up a visit with just hearing the location, price and that it was furnished.  I viewed the flat, and I knew it would be perfect, and agreed to sign then. A final appointment was set up for the following day. After some issues with withdraw of money, arrangements for a later signing we’re made, and the place was mine Wednesday evening!

Although it was a very stressful first couple of days, it has paid off greatly and I feel so settled in my new place (especially after a trip to Ikea for some final touches 😉).

Here are some photos of my little flat:

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The district I live in is 15 minutes from work, filled with cafes, shops, trendy restaurants, gorgeous parks, weekly 4 day market, and young professionals and families. It will be a lovely place to live and has been quite welcoming. Vinohrady is about a ten minute metro ride to the center, which also is very ideal!!

Aside apartment hunting and completing initial visa documentation, I have been greatly enjoying exploring the entire city. More updates to come on recent finds around the city and all things Czech!

Oh, and look at these night time viewsIMG_20170804_204622971

Xx Jackie

#handmadetravels

#theworldinherhands

 

 

 

 

Wildrose, Wisco 

Gilbert lake is a place that myself and my family hold very dear to our hearts. I have been going up to Wildrose, Wisconsin since I can last remember, and before then. My Grandparents and dad’s uncle had summer homes on Gilbert lake before I was born, and we were lucky enough to continue the summer tradition of spending weekends on the lake since I was a babe. 
Gilbert was the spot that my mom and dad met, and a place that many fall in love with. My mom’s best friend’s family had a cottage, and as mentioned before, a few cottage’s on the lake belonged to my dad’s side of the family. Mom caught my dad’s eye sunbathing (like mother like daughter) as he was driving the speed boat with his cousin. He invited her and her friend for a boat ride, and it was fait from that day on (especially being home was Chicago suburbs for the both of them). 

10 years ago, my parents bought our own house behind the lake road, and it quickly has become one of my favorite places. Hidden back in the woods, surrounded by pines, peace is guaranteed. The lake has always been the perfect time to hang out with the family, relax, and soak up the sun. 

We enjoy boating on “Queen Bee” a bright yellow (well now faded bright yellow)  speed boat from the 70’s) that was passed down from family across the lake. Yes, I have been up on skiis, not for long, but I still count it. We also love sailing, canoeing, and kayaking when not swimming and sunbathing.  

The days are filled with good vibes and laughs and the nights are just about the same- bonfires, stories shared, and of course spotted cow (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, look it up, as you MUST try one). Lake weekends coming to an end are always bittersweet, but Gilbert Lake will always be our 2nd home and somewhere to look so forward to visiting. 

Many memories have been made at Gilbert Lake and continue to be made, and I look very forward to enjoying the lake for many years to come.  

 

How beautiful it is to travel

My move to the Czech Republic is quickly approaching and although my excitement is out of this world, my nerves are starting to heighten. One of my best friends Katie (kindlykatiesite.worldpress.com- if you haven’t read her blog yet, take a look!) posted about her current trip to Costa Rica last week and the nerves she experiences prior to travel and how she manages! That of course got me reflecting on how I manage my pre travel jitters and what I do to plan prior to going on a trip. 

For me, my nerves are stemmed from traveling itself: getting on my flight, train, boat. In order to ensure I am up to date with my travels, I first print out all necessary tickets. Prior to departure, I check my online itinerary a week in advance and then two days before departing. For my Spring Break trip to Prague, I was surprised that the day before my flight, my departure time changed as well as my airline. THIS is why I double check before departure. Luckily the flight left an hour later rather than earlier so I would have made the flight regardless, but DON’T chance it.  

Along with airports come long periods of wait time, that sometimes calls for too much time to think. I always am sure to have a good read with me to keep my mind busy and positively distracted. I am a guide book lover- even if a few suggestions are followed through with, it a nice way to get familiarized with the city you are visiting and assists in prioritizing the must see items on your list. For me, the airport is perfect time to brush through a guide book. 

As you know, I’m a teacher and with that… a planner. Whether or not I follow through with the plan is where my spontaneity and adventure comes into play. Having a plan (yes, I do create outlined itineraries for trips- especially when I have limited time visiting) greatly puts my mind at ease prior to taking on a new city. I however have learned to allow time for additional excursions/ visits as well as for unforeseen circumstances (like walking for an extended period of time in non-proper shoes along cobblestoned hills causing a visit to a  non-English speaking pharmacy- and spending unwanted time in my hostel icing my knee :p).  

Here is a sample itinerary from my trip to Prague in March. I always try to take advantage of free walking tours on the first day so that I can visit spots again and acclimate myself with the city. 

How else do you put your travel jitters to ease? 

I enjoy mindfulness and the night before and morning of departure, I take 15 minutes for relaxation leaving me I calmed and at ease afterwards. 

As I am a huge family girl, I also make sure to have appropriate technology set up to communicate back home during my trip. That meaning, I teach my parents how to use facebook messenger to send messages and video chat :P. 

Another thing that I include in my planning is map print outs from the airport to my hostel or hotel (with timetable an hour after my flight lands- allows for time to get off plane and claim luggage). This is extremely helpful and allows me to pretend like I am a local- even though I clearly am not with an oversized suitcase, tired eyes, and camera around my neck. I am all for budget travel when traveling and public transport is typically the most inexpensive route. Have your maps printed, it will save you time and feeling overwhelmed upon landing. I always have a back up transport option as well in case for some reason I can’t take public transit. 

AHH, almost settled! The first things I do upon arrival at my hotel/hostel- wash my face, brush my teeth and grab a coffee while re visiting my plan for the day/ evening. THEN I’m off, and instantly in love with being lost/ exploring a new city!

 

What are your travel prep essentials? And what do you do to calm yourself before a big journey?

 

#handmadetravel

 

Bucket list thrills 


Everyone has a bucket list full of thrilling experiences, am I right?! Well to some, these may seem not adventurous at all, and to others, not appealing at all, but to me they have been massive ✔ on the list, and continue giving me more ideas of musts! I will say I am proud of this list of thrill seeking experiences! Skiing in Eastern Alps, zorbing, white water rafting, canyoning x 2, and hang gliding are just a few on the list that I hope to experience in Europe!

So, here are 8 of my favorite ✔’ed off items on my list:

1. Interlaken Switzerland- Repelled down cliffs, jumped off cliffs into small bodies of water, slid down small water falls- no jokes! We did the beginner level, and I am ready to complete the next level during my next stay in Interlaken! 10507062_10152309746078235_2478329538698746899_o

2. Sydney Harbor Bridge climb in Sydney, Australia- and no, it does not sway back and forth (Yes I have been asked that many times :P), but it was so thrilling! My knees began to shake the first step I took up the stairs. The views were spectacular!

3. Bike tour in Paris, France- I expected an informative stroll through Paris and ended up having a thrilling experience maneuvering through Paris traffic- literally through. At many points, I thought I was going to wipe out and land flat on my face. The pouring rain made visibility very limited, and my bikes skills/ maneuvering in PARIS traffic = NOT GOOD. Thankfully I was on the tour with a great group and experienced some laughs of a lifetime. Oh, AND ended the tour on a boat ride (drenched) looking over the Eiffel tower with French wine!

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4. Kayaking in Iseltwald, Switzerland and Adelaide, Australia- I LOVE kayaking and try to do a kayak tour or rental in every city I visit regardless of the body of water. Kayaking is a perfect way to experience the views of a city. The scenery in both Iseltwald and Adelaide were incredible. The kayak tour we did in Adelaide was kayaking in a dolphin cove, we saw “heaps” of dolphins and were lucky enough to have one swim right under our kayak- amazing!

5. 3 day Camel safari in Flinders’ Ranges, South Australia Outback- Need I saw anymore?! This was an experience of a lifetime which tested my limits physically and mentally. YES physically! We could barely walk after sitting on a camel for three days haha. Mentally as I had never camped prior to this trip, and all we had for sleeping in at night was a SWAG (basically a sleeping bag that covers your face), in the middle of the desert in the continent with the most deadly creatures (I itch just thinking about it). Waking up to a beautiful sunrise, and our dearly loved camels was unforgettable.

 
6. Snorkeling in Negril, Jamaica- This was my first time swimming in the middle of the ocean! It was amazing being able to see a completely different world under the sea. We even saw my two favorite fish (clown fish and puffer fish) – thankfully no sharks 😉

7. Helicopter tour over the Grand Canyon, Arizona- I sat in the front seat next to the pilot and held onto my seat for dear life. If you have ever been in the front seat of a helicopter, you know that the window extends from the ceiling to your feet allowing for spectacular views of the canyon! We ended at an Indian reserve with a glass skywalk extending over the canyon- Don’t look down!

8. Paddle boarding in Coronado, San Diego- One of the most hysterical experiences being that I did so with my best friend Katie who together, we are all giggles. We were on the ocean near the naval base so between the natural waves and the waves from the naval ships we thought for sure we were both going in. Going against the current and wind on the way to the rentals called for again, many laughs and people staring at us not moving- and lots of amazing selfies.

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What have some of your most thrilling adventures been?!

Xx Jackie

#theworldinherhand

#handmadetravels