Well I’ve discovered where I’m going to live for the rest of my life, so I’m glad I’ve got that figured out. Sorry familia, it’s nowhere near Minnesota, but you can come visit!
During the long weekend (normally we have classes Monday-Thursday, but Thursday was off last week), Alyse & I traveled to Prague. We left Thursday afternoon, thank goodness for no 3am wake-up call to catch a flight. When we landed, we were greeted by a gray, drab sky, but I honestly think that makes the city much prettier. Our Air bnb was in a more local area of the city, but it was a 5 minute walk from the metro making it easy to travel all around the city. When we arrived, I was shocked at how quiet it was because living in Barcelona means noise, traffic, and commotion at all hours of the day. Also, it was in the 50s which to most people isn’t exactly a positive, but that’s my favorite type of weather. It was warm enough to not need anything but jeans and a light jacket, perfect weather for sightseeing.
Ironically the first meal we ate in Prague was sushi, but it was phenomenal. Something I never got used to was the conversion rate between the Euro and the Czech Koruna, 1 Euro = 27 Korunas. When we got the bill back our meal was 1500 Korunas, but that evened out to about 25 euros a piece. I thought about sending a picture of the bill to my parents to freak them out, but I refrained (probably a smart choice).
The next day was all about seeing as much of the city as possible since we knew we wouldn’t be able to on Saturday. Alyse & I walked everywhere, we started out the day in a local farmer’s market, eating delicious Czech pastries with some coffee. From there we walked into Old Town (quite literally the old part of Prague), across the bridges, to the castle, and to a beer garden on top of a hill all before dinner. I can’t do the city justice by just saying it was beautiful, but man, it was beauuuutiful. It’s like you’re walking in a fairy tale with cobblestone roads, old buildings, intricate architecture, and of course, the castle on the hill.
Fun fact, years ago I was looking through Instagram and came across a Trdelník in one of those travel food blogs and I vividly remember telling my roommate that I was going to go to Prague and eat one. Dreams do come true because I got not only one but three while I was there…
Holy cow, it was amazing and I’d buy another flight just to eat one.
The fun part about traveling is you can be like a tourist and not feel bad about it, I always try to do more “local” things in Barcelona as I’m trying to go past the touristic aspect of life here. For example, we climbed to the top of the Old Town Hall which allowed us to see the entire city. On the way up, we read about the history of the Old Town Hall, especially in regards to World War II and the Nazis. I’d never been in Eastern Europe before, so it was mind blowing to know that I was standing in a place that had once been covered with swastikas and was the center of rebellion against the Nazis, causing it to be destroyed and later rebuilt.
See what I mean? Prague is insanely beautiful, even with gray skies. One of my other favorite places in Prague was John Lennon’s Wall, I know, it’s not as historical as a symbol against Nazi occupation, but I think it’s pretty cool. There was a street performer playing and singing along to all of the different Beatles songs, it was relaxing. Definitely one of the more hipster things I’ve done while abroad…
Friday night we met up with friends and had a traditional Czech meal, which I had mixed feelings about. I had goulash and I’m not the type to try strange meat, but I did and it was good as long as I don’t think about where it came from .
Saturday morning we walked around another neighborhood of Prague, eating brunch and heading to the train station in the afternoon. The experience of getting from Prague to Pardubice was one of the most alienating, stressful time periods of my life but pretty comical when we thought about our situation. We headed to Pardubice to watch a basketball game of one of Wofford’s men’s basketball graduates, he plays overseas in a town outside of Prague. He had given us elaborate, step-by-step directions on how we would go about buying the tickets, finding the train, and calling a taxi to get to the gym. Well, as it does in life, things didn’t go as planned. When we got down to the office to buy our tickets there was not one person who spoke English, none of the workers understood what we were saying. Unfortunately for us, Spanish isn’t widely spoken in the Czech Republic, or at all, so we were pretty much isolated. Somehow we ended up purchasing the right ticket through hand signals and pictures on our phones, but the next step was finding our train station. The only other times I’ve been on a train, I’ve been with a team or friends so I never had been in the position to figure it out for myself.
When we got up to the platform, a train came rolling into the station. We spotted a younger couple nearby and thought “wow, I can’t believe our luck!” In the Czech Republic, the young people are much more likely to speak English, but as luck would have it, they couldn’t understand a word we were saying. I alternated between showing him my phone and the ticket, hoping that maybe he’d understand what I was trying to ask him. Well, he kept pointing to the train so I’d mime walking to the train and he’d say no! So we guessed okay, maybe this isn’t our train..? After five minutes of talking Czech to his girlfriend and us awkwardly waiting for our train, he looked at us and mimed for us to go to the train. Apparently, this was indeed our train, but we had no idea. I’m sure they had a good laugh after we ran off to catch it.
Thankfully the rest of the way was easier, and we met up with the taxi who took us to the game. Pardubice was the number two ranked team in the league and hadn’t lost at home all season, but Lee’s team beat them! It was an awesome win and we were glad this was the game we came to watch. This made me laugh…you know how we eat pizza, nachos, candy, and popcorn at sporting events? Well in the Czech Republic they eat sausages and dumplings. Not exactly what we were used to, but it didn’t look too bad!
As if Prague wasn’t amazing enough, the cost of living is much lower there. Everything from food to tourist attractions were much cheaper than any other place I had visited before! Eastern Europe in general is more affordable, so I highly recommend visiting a destination in those countries.
It’s T-2 weeks until spring break, honestly, a break from school could not come sooner! It’s crazy that my next trip will be to Germany, the country I’ve wanted to visit for as long as I can remember…