21st Birthday Week

Trip Start Jan 19, 2012
Trip End Jun 04, 2012

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Monday, March 5, 2012

A long time coming. It has taken 21 years for me to get to this point in my life, and along the road I have had countless unforgettable experiences, met hundreds of people, been around the world, and finally come into my own. There is always an association with drinking when an American turns 21 years old, but for the rest of the world it doesn't have any more meaning than your 19th birthday. Nonetheless I feel like this birthday marks a milestone in my life, I am now an adult in the eyes of the law, and the responsibilities that will be presented to me in the coming years will amount to more than I have ever had at any other time in my life. I am grateful beyond words to those who have helped me on my journey to this point, and I look forward to spending many great times with you in the future; where ever that might be. 
It is hard for me to describe the sublime feeling that comes with living in a different country, and the realization that I am beginning to call this place a home away from home ever more often. I have come into the habit that is class, and gotten comfortable with my schedule here. I have a daily routine here, and quite frankly I am ecstatic about it. I started the week as usual with Art and Architecture; this week we went to a museum that housed many beautiful works of art from the Renaissance era. Unfortunately, many museums here do not allow photography, even when taking pictures without flash, so I do not have any pictures from that. I can tell you that there were some amazing pieces of art including an enormous sculpture of Jesus on the cross. 

 The rest of the week went by with incredible swiftness, especially for a birthday week, which usually take forever for "kids at heart". I unofficially started my birthday celebrations on Monday, when Eric, Travis, Clara (bar tender/ friend from Pivovarsky) went out for beers. Clara is 23 and has lived in Prague for a few years now and is a Czech national. She is well renowned in the beer community and took us to a bar that had 28 specialty beers on tap. It was nice having a local to show us the city and explain things that we would have never known about were it not for her. So Monday night was all about really getting the inside knowledge on the city. Friday night Kinsey, Eric, Travis, and I went to a bar in Zizkov, the working class neighborhood, where they carry a special micro brew that is only served at a couple bars throughout the Czech Republic. It is the same brewery that Anthony Bourdain went to in his Prague episode, and man was the beer good. 

The real celebrating was on my actual birthday, Saturday, and I figrued for my 21st I should do it right, so naturally a small group of us started at the Pivovarsky with a giraffe ha ha. We started around 12 and were done by 2, which timed perfectly with the growing hunger that would shortly be satisfied. For Lunch I wanted to go to the Krystal Bistro, which hand makes all of their ingredients for all of their food, and ironically serves the best burger that I have ever had, yes even in the United States. They hand make everything from the patties to the fresh buns, it truly was indescribably scrumptious, and of course the beer to wash the whole meal down completed the experience. After lunch we went back for a short break before the soccer game at 6. AC Sparta is Prague's local team and with soccer being very popular here the stadium, which was of impressive scale was nearly filled to capacity. The tickets were only about 5 dollars and we had pretty good seats behind the home goal, not that it really matters here because people are free to move where ever they want as long as there is an open seat, the rules can be described as beyond lax or close to none. To justify my claim the opposing teams fans were lighting off fireworks and flares inside of the stadium and there didn't seem to be anything wrong with it, again this is awesome but a wee bit worrisome at the same time. Unfortunately, Sparta lost the game 1-3, but regardless I had an awesome time. After we got back I took a short nap again before getting up and playing some beer-pong before heading out to the bars and club for the nights festivities. We went to a bar that seems unsuspectingly normal with first glance from the outside, however, when one descends into the bar one realizes that it is extremely large consisting of numerous tunnels connecting caves of rooms filled with people. The bar is called U Sudu, and I will definitely try to go back there another time. After U Sudu, we were planning on going to another bar but we decided that it was too far away and we would just go to a club in Wenceclas Square instead, which was still a good option. We stayed at the club until the wee hours of the morning before finally heading back and passing out on my comfy bed after what was an awesome birthday, in an amazing city, surrounded by great people. 
Thanks to everyone from home for the birthday wishes, it was a great one.

Niko Zivanovich
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