Friday, April 23, 2010

I am back!

So I know I still need to update on Krakow and Prague, but a short update on my last 5 days. Due to a volcano in Iceland (yes all the way in Iceland) I was stranded in Prague for 4 extra days.

However, I was pretty lucky to have a hotel room that did not mark up the price, a friend who was stranded with me, and to be in Prague, both beautiful with fun little day trips to entertain us and you can eat and travel cheaply bc it is a former soviet bloc country. We were able to stay at our 4 star hotel for about 50 dollars a piece a night with cable ( a few english channels), a huge breakfast, large flatscreen tv, sitting room, free wifi, and comfy bed. Also, a little plug for our hotel-- the Red and Blue Design Hotel in Prague. The people were so kind to all of us stranded and the hotel is in a good location (main part but not so central that its loud in the touristy parts). It is also a really good deal. If I went back, I would stay there after how well they treated us.

Once I mourned the fact that I was going to be missing 4 days of work (unpaid) and I would be spending more money for hotel and food, I calmed down and realized well, I am going to be broke for the next 2 mths no matter what, so I might as well enjoy myself (although not too lavishly) I wont likely take another vacation for 6 mths so I was not going to just sit in the room all week.

So, we went on a jazz cruise of Prague at night, went to Melnik to tour a palace and take a wine tour, went to Karlovy Vary which is a spa town and enjoyed the hots springs mineral water and cheap massages. We also enjoyed different restaurants, some extremely rich hot cocoa at this cute cafe, and some shopping. More updates later on our entire trip, but truthfully, I loved Prague and love it even more after the people were so kind to us after we were stuck there. I would list it in my top 3 cities (along with Paris and DC)

Will catch y'all up later. I am now just glad to be at home - had lunch with a friend, dinner with friends tonight, then out for drinks if I can stay awake. I love Jackson and think its good that I missed it so much this week. I am where I need to be for now.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Short update on Krakow.. more to come....

I love Krakow. It is a very beautiful oldworld different city. It is not a place I will likely come back but it is a place few have been so I am grateful to have gone. We have spent the past 2 days seeing the Old Jewish Quarters and getto, the quaint town square with local shops, eating GOOD CHEAP food and going to Auschwitz.

a few key points:
(1) Auschwitz is the one of the hardest things I have ever had to see. I am glad I did it but will never go back (unless I take my kids). I think it is important to see, I am still upset about it and will have to think about it some more before really talking about it.
(2) Eastern Europe -even Poland, a part of the EU- is cheap. We have eaten good meals--with wine and dessert and appetizer both nights for very cheap (25-30 a person; 130-180 here)
(3) Whereas I did not like German food, I LOVE polish food - I tried traditional polish food, polish baked treats at a bakery, a jewish meal and a restaurant at a place AK discovered where all the "foodies"go-- polish with a western european twist -- i had duck with cherry sauce, SO SO SO SO good.
(4) I bought goodies for family member (some of them, and will continue to buy some more in prague)

More later. We leave tomorrow for Prague. Cant wait! But sad to leave this charming city!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I almost did not make it to lie. I sat on a plane they were trying to fix for 3 hours (in DFW) until they finally decided MAYBE we should fly across the big pond in a more reliable then I, along with the other passengers, were stranded until they found a new plane. We arrived 4 hours late in London, 2.5 hours after my flight to Berlin. So I had to WAIT in HEATHROW all day...with 3 hours of sleep and missing a day of my hard earned self paid vacay.

On top of that...I had to leave my hot winter coat on bc I broke my zipper on my jeans. Yes its true, it got caught on the fabric and i ripped to hard to pull it up and I broke it so I had buttoned unzipped jeans with NOTHING else to change into until 9:30 that night when I finally arrived in Berlin at our hotel in Berlin. This was of course, very frustrating, BUT VERY VERY par for the course in the travel life of Katy Braden.....ha, I get used to these silly set backs.

In Berlin, I was determined to NOT waste an entire day and I had recently slept all the way from london to berlin so I had a short second wind....I met up with Ann Kirk and changed before walking through the Kurfurstendamm neighborhood of West Germany to find a cafe to eat at. (Ku-damm as the locals call it is like the Champs de lysee in Paris or the Miracle Mile in area, very vibrant and feels safe since so many people are there. Glad we chose to stay here. We found this little cafe I had read about called Schwartz Cafe....a 24 hour artsy very local cafe. I had eaten lunch at 3:30 (thank you time change and how it affects eating/sleeping habits) so all I wanted was desert and I ordered this delicious apple strudel with vanilla ice cream. AK had a hummus dip. We had a great conversation and I immediately realized a years worth of emails/gchat has not done our friendship justice.

The next day, we got up and went to an adorable little restaurant for breakfast that AK found (riendharts) When in Europe, even coffee, toast and eggs seems fancy. We then went to see the Brandonburg Gate where Ronald Reagan said his famous words. I had my private memorial for him. We walked around the neighborhood, went to a market and a chocolate store then met for the "free berlin tour" (tips only) Usually I think that tours can be cheesy but this was the only way to see a city as large as Berlin in 2 days. We saw the Holocaust memorial, where Hitler shot himself, a piece of the Wall, Communist sites, etc. It was a good way to get a lot in and our guide was very good -- an Aussie who has moved to different European cities to give tours....we both agreed he was very good in history and we hope when he gets his wanderer phase out of him, he decides to teach high school or college.

Then we sat at a cafe and hot hot chocolate to warm up (it was bitterly cold that afternoon) before catching the U-bahn to go see the East Side Gallery. This is the largest remainder of the Berlin wall remaining. Several artists (particularly alternative or street art) were called in to paint pictures of freedom on this wall. So 1.3 km of wall are painted with pictures of what freedom means to commemorate communism. We then went back to the hotel to change for dinner--a wonderful Turkish meal (Berlin has the largest Turkish population outside of Turkey so this is a very big part of their culture) AK had written her thesis on Turkey's possible admission to the EU and she wanted to try Turkish food. The guy was very helpful in showing us what to order and also surprised us with Turkish tea and cookies.

The next day we saw the Riechstag, climbed to the top of the dome, went to see the Babylonian gates at the museum, and ate lunch at a cute little restaurant. Before leaving, we walked up and down Ku-damm and saw KaDeWe, the largest department store in continental Europe. I also was adomant that I try a currywurst like Samantha Brown did and my reaction was just like hers-- gross. I have now tried it and will never tried again.

After lots of almost failures (another blog entirely) in making it to Krakow (we serve a Big God who was watching out for us), we made it this morning, having slept fairly well in our sleeper cart. We checked into the hostel before heading out on the town to see the sights and see the mourning of the President's death. More on that soon, hopefully....I will update you on our wonderful day today, wonderful food and our upcoming trip to Auschwitz today.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Today at noon, I am leaving work at going to the Jackson International Airport (oximoron i know....) to fly to Berlin. I can't wait to see Ann Kirk.... I will be there at noon tomorrow (german time) -- I think that makes my total flight/wait in airport time 18 hours-ish. yuck. Hope that have good movies but I dont care! I cant wait to be there!!

I will try to update on my trip, but lots of pictures when I get back.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I was encouraged by this article. Sometimes we are told as Christians not to create a wish list for God, not to be only focused on asking for things, but to use our prayer time to communicate with Him, to thank him for His many blessings and to get to know Him better. And, while I agree that our Lord is not Santa Clause-- here to give us our every wish and desire; I do think we sometimes belittle the fact that the Lord can make big things happen---heal the sick, reconcile friendships and family relationships, bring community and family to the lonely, provide a job to the unemployed or the funds to go to school or the mission field, etc. And, there is a very real aspect of our relationship with God that comes from trusting him and bringing our requests and fears before Him knowing He CAN provide and that many times, He wants to. That although He cares more about our holiness than our happiness, He does care about our desires as well.

Also, others (Christians and nonchristians) don't expect God to step in and answer our prayers, so why not ask God to show them

Not what they're expecting

Thanksgiving in Vermont?

I am thinking YES. Check out Marley's news

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter Weekend!

I doubt I could have planned a better Easter weekend. I feel so blessed to be living the life I am living now. Certainly there are things I want and hope for, but I have good family, friends, job, and a relationship with my Savior. And, I particularly love Spring and the weather. I doubt anyone can be depressed in 70 degree weather, atleast I can never manage to be!

Friday, my sister (Marley) came with me to Highland's good friday service. This service is more serious (despite everyone being dressed in jeans and work clothes because they just came from work/school/etc.) There is communion and a focus on the death of our Savior because of our sins...I think taking the time to focus on the sorrow of the cross made the Joy of the ressurection even greater for me on Sunday. Afterwards we went to a cookout with young adults (and a few babies!) at my friend Becca's house. It was BYOM (bring your own meat) and marley and I brought shis good. After the cookout, I went to a friend's house. He had invited a bunch of us over to fronch porch sit, have a drink and chat. This is what I love about spring--- its so cheap! No pressure to go to a restaurant or bar. Its more fun to cookout or sit outside on a porch or balcony!

Saturday I had an early morning run then cleaned up and got an Easter pedicure. Then I met up with several friends from high school at the King Edward Hotel Bar. It was fun catching up with people I grew up with....even if its only once or twice a year when we are all in town, there is something comforting about the fact that I have known these girls since childhood. We may not be best friends, but we have known eachother a LONG time!

Sunday morning, I went to early morning service then 2 friends (Lisa and Ashton) joined my family for our Sunday lunch in Oxford, MS then going to the baseball game. It was a perfect day for a baseball game. My cheeks are a little pink and my legs are definitely darker from soaking in the sunshine while watching the rebels. Of course, the rebs did not win. I am convinced they cannot win on Sundays, they need a sunday pitcher. That was the only sad moment of the entire weekend.

I needed a weekend that was just about hanging out and having fun and getting stuff baby showers or weddings or birthday parties or all weekend trips...just fun with friends and family.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Saying No

Taking a stand for Christ can cost you....maybe even 1 million dollars. read here...

Saying No

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Calvinism is back.....

Calvinism is apparently back. Of course, having grown up PCA, I never knew it was out of style :-)

But, seriously, an encouraging article, especially when it refers to young twenty somethings and seminary students who are grasping ahold of reformed theology. This is a generation searching for more than the prosperity gospel.

Calvinism is back....