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After we climbed down into the cheese stop’s basement, we began introductions. The group was mostly Americans, and mostly younger than us, as expected.
“…and we live in Prague,” I finished.
“You live in Prague!” exclaimed the cheese guy. “So you live in one of the most popular tourism cities in the world, and you have free time, what do you do? You go to the other most popular tourism city in the world.”
I smiled. But on the inside, I was cringing — and wondering why I was so bothered by his comment. Did he think WE were the basic bitches of the group?! Never traveling anywhere but the most popular places? The kind of people who think Budapest is exotic and Mexico is full of cartels?
I know he didn’t mean anything by it. I should have let it roll off. But ever since, I’ve been replaying that comment in my head, and simultaneously chastising myself for having the gall to be bothered by that comment in the first place.
Oh well. This is March!
- Prague, Czech Republic
- Paris, France
A wonderful weekend trip to Paris. Charlie wanted to visit Paris for his birthday — he had never been before — and I planned a fun weekend for us that took in a lot of cool places.
Two activities that we especially enjoyed: a foodie tour of Aligre Market in the 12th, a really wonderful local market, and a cheese tasting experience in the Marais, where we learned so much about French cheeses.
Beyond that, we ate a LOT of French food. Everything from steak tartare to macarons to onion soup, crepes, tarte tatin, and lots of French cheeses.
We did have a few issues with the current turmoil in Paris (more on that below) but overall, we had a fabulous little weekend! And now Charlie is suggesting we find someone with a Paris apartment and cats looking to do a housing exchange!
Seeing King Lear in Prague. We saw a wonderful performance of King Lear at the Estates Theatre in Prague. I read King Lear in high school but never saw it performed until now. It was superb, start to finish.
If you get a chance, you should see a show at the Estates Theatre. The theater is outfitted in robin’s egg blue, as crenellated as Prague’s buildings, and every seat above orchestra is a box seat, which feels so fancy! Oh, and it’s a fraction of what you’d pay in New York for a similar seat.
Baliček the cat is back! Our friends’ cat has come to our place for another extended visit, and it’s been so nice having him here. He’s the sweetest cat. As I type this, he just came over and tapped my arm with his paw to say, “Can I jump into your lap?” Of course I let him.
This time he and Lewis and Murray have become actual friends who hang out together. Baliček and Murray especially. They love romping around after each other.
The cats got into catnip. We had to keep Lewis away from catnip during his FIP treatment, so we never bought it for the cats, but a little sample came to us this month. Murray didn’t really get the point, but Lewis was ROLLING on the ground with big eyes, like he was at a music festival, and it was the cutest thing. Baliček enjoyed it, too.
Picking out wedding rings. Fun! Neither is very traditional, but they’re both cool.
Fun times with friends. We celebrated our little nephew’s first birthday, had a night out at Kantyna, and my friends Mike and Anne from Honeytrek randomly dropped by Prague for a visit.
Visiting Paris during some turmoil. You’ve probably heard about the protests, the trash strikes, and other goings-on in Paris as Macron overrode Parliament to raise the retirement age by two years.
The good news was that we barely noticed anything going on; we stayed far from the protest centers of Opéra/Madeleine, and the trash issue was only limited to certain neighborhoods (5th/6th especially).
The only pain was the day of the general strike, which also happened to be Charlie’s birthday. While public transportation was supposed to be running but limited, we found that a lot of stations were completely closed and decided to spend the bulk of the day walking. We took a bus at one point that was rerouted and discontinued.
In short, a bit of a pain, but doable, and YES, it was still worth visiting Paris at that time.
Finding a chunk of bone in my mouth and freaking out that I had lost a piece of tooth, then going through my mouth with a fine-tooth comb to see where it came from. Then realizing that nothing was missing and it probably just showed up in food from our delivery. FUN TIMES.
Blog Posts of the Month
Sicilian Food: 30 Iconic Dishes + What to Eat in Sicily — My first regional food guide I’ve ever written! Before my latest trip to Sicily, I made a big list of every iconic food I had to try for this guide, and we actually got our way through it.
The Truth About Visiting Sicily in Winter (Good & Bad) — Sicily is frequently recommended as one of the warmest places in Europe in the winter, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. There are a lot of good things about visiting Sicily in the winter — but also a lot of bad things. This is my honest guide.
How to Stay at an Agriturismo in Italy — I’ve wanted to write this piece forever! Staying at an agriturismo is something I recommend to almost everyone visiting Italy. Here’s how to actually do it, and how to choose the right one for you.
29 Sunny Things to Do in Hvar, Croatia — Hvar is WAY more than just a party island. It’s the sunniest island in the Adriatic, home to cute small towns, fantastic wine, multiple UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and lavender fields.
This Month on Patreon
On the Adventurous Kate Patreon, I publish exclusive content and never-told stories that you can access for $6 per month. We also have a private Facebook group and members get free access to the Book Club each month.
This month I wrote a big post about Paris. Paris is the destination that really kicked off my travel obsession, starting with a school trip at age sixteen.
I wove in several tales of Paris trips past and present, making connections over the years. Including that first trip, what it was like to visit Paris right before 9/11 (and the context afterward), and everyone wanting to know what “President Boosh” was like.
Book Club This Month
Our next book club will take place on Sunday, April 16, at 1:00 PM Eastern Time. (FYI, this day happens to be Orthodox Easter.) We will be reading The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories by Afghan-American author Jamil Jan Kochai.
“Pen/Hemingway finalist Jamil Jan Kochai breathes life into his contemporary Afghan characters, moving between modern-day Afghanistan and the Afghan diaspora in America. In these arresting stories verging on both comedy and tragedy, often starring young characters whose bravado is matched by their tenderness, Kochai once again captures “a singular, resonant voice, an American teenager raised by Old World Afghan storytellers.”
In “Playing Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain,” a young man’s video game experience turns into a surreal exploration on his own father’s memories of war and occupation. Set in Kabul, “Return to Sender” follows two married doctors driven by guilt to leave the US and care for their fellow Afghans, even when their own son disappears. A college student in the US in “Hungry Ricky Daddy” starves himself in protest of Israeli violence against Palestine. And in the title story, “The Haunting of Hajji Hotak,” we learn the story of a man codenamed Hajji, from the perspective of a government surveillance worker, who becomes entrenched in the immigrant family’s life.
The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories is a moving exploration of characters grappling with the ghosts of war and displacement—and one that speaks to the immediate political landscape we reckon with today.”
You can sign up for the book club here. Patreon members have their own sign-up in the Patreon.
Side Projects Update
So what went on in my businesses behind the scenes? I added a printable itinerary to a blog post, I didn’t announce it anywhere, and it sold three copies without any effort. Fun!
A number of my travel blogger friends already do this, and it was good to see for myself that it works. More of those will be on the way.
As for the other sites — it’s been a bit quiet on New Hampshire Way and the other site as I work on tweaking the writing back-end. I did publish a new post on Things to Do in Meredith, NH, my favorite town on Lake Winnipesaukee.
This is my first year with decent traffic on the New Hampshire site, so it’s nice to observe the traffic slowly ramping up. Spring is mud season in New Hampshire, and not the best time to visit, but people are starting to plan their summer trips now!
What I Listened To This Month
This month, I’ve been super-engrossed in a podcast called Dead Eyes. It has nothing to do with murder — it’s actually about an actor named Connor Ratcliff who was fired from a small role in Band of Brothers because apparently Tom Hanks thought he had dead eyes. That experience has haunted him for two decades since; he even quit acting for awhile because of it.
So this podcast has been an exercise in getting to the bottom of what actually happened that day — wouldn’t you be devastated if Tom Hanks thought you had dead eyes?! — but also talking to a variety of actors about their biggest highs and lows in show business and how to keep going.
It is a fantastic listen about vulnerability and the entertainment industry, and a great episodic podcast if, like me, you want to sink into a long-form story that isn’t about murder.
There are 30 episodes featuring stars like Seth Rogen, Aimee Mann, Jon Hamm, and tons of comedians — and in the final episode, they actually got Tom Hanks to come on and talk to Connor about what actually happened on Band of Brothers. I haven’t gotten to that one yet but I’m so looking forward to it!
What I Watched This Month
This month I decided to finally watch The Leftovers, a three-season HBO drama I had been wanting to watch for some time — and WHAT A SHOW IT WAS. I read the book when it came out in 2011, but never made it to the series.
The Leftovers begins three years after the Sudden Departure — an unexplained event when 2% of the world’s population vanished into thin air, evenly distributed across the world, no rhyme or reason. This plunges the world into chaos, and cults spring up everywhere.
The first season, which follows the book, focuses on people in a suburban town in New York, including the police chief trying to keep the town together and a woman who lost her husband and two children in the Departure.
The first season is good. But the second and third seasons are magnificent. The show moves to a new location — Jarden, Texas, the world’s largest town that didn’t lose a single person in the Departure. The show becomes more spiritual. Reza Aslan became an executive producer, and each episode was filled with layers and layers of religious iconography that you won’t even notice unless you go through the episode posts on Reddit.
There’s an episode in the second season called International Assassin that is nothing short of a masterpiece.
Finally, Justin Theroux might be the most beautiful man on screen since Jude Law in The Talented Mr. Ripley. You stare at him in wonder, thinking, “HOW the HELL is a human this good-looking?!”
Besides The Leftovers, I watched The Last of Us this month (great watch, Bella Ramsey is fantastic, and I finally get why everyone is obsessed with Pedro Pascal). And Yellowjackets just started up again and is SO SO SO GOOD! But I’ll get more into that next month…
What I Read This Month
I did not read anything this month. YIKES.
Coming Up in April 2023
I’m actually not going anywhere in April or May. For good reasons — Charlie and I are in the home stretch as we prepare to get married! Everything is going to be a blur of working with vendors and helping our guests with their trips to Prague.
In the meantime, I’m really looking forward to springtime in Prague, which is the most beautiful time of year here. It doesn’t quite feel like spring yet, but I’m confident it will be gorgeous by the end of the month!
You might have notice that I’ve never written any designated Prague blog posts here (!) but I’m making that a priority in April, publishing some guides that will be helpful for our wedding guests coming to Prague.
What are you getting up to this month? Share away!