Thursday, June 23, 2016
A couple of weekends ago I had the privilege of visiting Prague! People always told me I just had to go there. When a free weekend and 9 Euro bus tickets popped up, I jumped at the chance. Without many concrete plans I headed over to the center of Europe to see how it’s done.
While in Prague, I got to spend lots of time with a wonderful friend from my IPP in Brasil, Eva. Eva is the mother of two boys around my age and I remember her being like a sweet mom or older sister to all of us at IPP. On Friday morning after I dropped my things at the hostel, I met Eva at a traditional meeting point of the city, underneath the horse’s butt of a statue. From there we took the tram up near the castle so we could walk back from there down into the city. Before entering the castle grounds, we ambled through a picturesque neighborhood and near a beautiful church. Then it was on to the mind-blowingly beautiful castle (even the water drainage pipes are sculpted so the water comes out of animal mouths!) and a walk down towards town. We stopped at the famous John Lennon wall and then ate lunch at a traditional Czech place called Lokal. Oddly enough, my brother had recommended it to me. Before I even told Eva I wanted to go there, we went there because she said it was the best place to go! I had the local beer, Pilsener Urquell, and realized it’s actually delicious. That’s saying something for someone who doesn’t really like beer. I also had fried cheese because it’s about the only traditional Czech cuisine I can have that’s not meat. Afterwards we took a stroll across the Charles Bridge. We then headed towards a lovely Italian café where I discovered Cremino – coffee mixed with sugar and cream, and it was incredible. We then went through the Jewish Quarter and a fancy shopping area before seeing the Astronomical clock in the Old Town. Eva’s Italian friends had invited us for dinner nearby, so we had a wonderful fish with lots of bread and wine before I headed back to my hostel to pass out.
Saturday was another long and fun day. I met up with Eva near the horse’s butt again, and then we had macarons at Paul’s. It’s not exactly a Czech thing, but I love macarons and as Paul’s makes them the size of your palm, I just had to have one. From there, we took the tram towards a beautiful old cemetery and church. After walking back towards town to check out the famous Dancing House, we stumbled upon an awesome street market. It was like Costco with all the samples and I absolutely loved it. Eva and I had fun experimenting all the different foods, such as marinated cheese and cascara coffee. Then we stopped at a supermarket and mall just for funzies because I like to see what those look like in other countries. After, we went to another traditional kind of Czech restaurant where of course I just had the Pilsener and a salad again because meat. Then I headed by myself towards a park with the Czech Eiffel Tower. You can use public transport to take a cable car up the hill which is kind of cool. At the top, I explored the rose garden and then checked out the view from the top of the Eiffel Tower before getting a pastry and hiking down. Then I went back to my hostel for a quick break before Museum Night.
Museum Night happens once a year in Prague and it just so happened I was there for it! All the museums open for free from 7 p.m. until 1 a.m. and the city even provides free bussing to and from all of the locations. I started out in the Jewish Quarter, but everything was closed because of Shabbat. I ended up at the School of Architecture, Art, and Design. It was really neat to see the different exhibits there and also cool because I would not have ended up there if it weren’t for Museum Night. Then I went to Eva’s work, the House of National Minorities. I did some karaoke with a group of Vietnamese and saw a traditional Hungarian dance. Then I met up with the daughter of Eva’s friend, Stasia, to see a couple more museums. We tried to go first to the National Museum but it was closed so we went to the Coffee Museum. I got to learn so much about one of my favorite drinks and of course even got to sample different kinds. We tried to go to another museum, but then it was towards closing time. Instead, we walked along the river and had delicious gingerbread. After I got to my hostel, I met up with my friend Amir, an Israeli soldier from my Birthright trip 3 summers ago. He studies medicine in Prague so although he was busy studying for his final exam, we still got to hang out for an hour which was nice.
Sunday morning, I tried once again to go to the Jewish quarter, but once again it was closed because of a holiday. I guess I’ll just have to go back to Prague to see all those synagogues! Instead, Eva and I went to the National Gallery of Art. I got to learn about many Czech artists and even see the Slavic pictures, these absolutely huge and beautiful paintings of Czech history. Then, Eva’s Italian friends had invited us for a tasting of traditional Sardinian food. I spent the afternoon before my bus ride back just drinking good wine and eating good cheese and it was wonderful! Eva is very involved with the Italian community in Prague and it was so nice to get to see Prague through her lens. It was a lovely trip and I truly hope to return someday!
For now, I am off to Poland for the weekend to meet up with Emy. Monday, Paula comes from Brasil. We’ll spend the next week exploring Hamburg and the surrounding area, then next Friday I am off to CISV in Portugal for the month of July! I’m excited about all of these upcoming adventures because each will be exciting and also bring me closer to home in August J For now, time to enjoy the last 7 weeks! I’ll try my best to update the blog a bit while I’m gone. Hugs for now!
Very excited about standing by the guard
even more beautiful on the other side!
These sculptures of babies are done by a Czech artist and all over the city - even climbing up the TV Tower!
Me ft. door
The "Eiffel Tower"
Castle view from the top of the Tower
My reward for climbing said tower. It's not actually a Czech pastry but it tasted good.
Charles bridge made of gingerbread
My magazine in Czech!
My first Pilsener Urquell
Giant raspberry macarons
Me and Eva and Italian wine!
Thanks for a wonderful time, Eva!