Praha and beyond!

So this post is wayyyy overdue. No excuses … except upon returning from Prague I was promptly thrown back into the work world while my head was still in travel-mode. Cue forgetting many things at home, scheduling conflicts and poor sleep. But now I have totally adjusted! (Just in time for a week of Easter break…) So I am here to write about the fabulous school tripto Prague that I was invited on. Yea, that’s right. As their 5th-year field trip, we all hopped on a coach bus and drove 13 hours to another COUNTRY. Casual.

Anyway, let’s start with the whole “driving to Prague from Italy” thing. Never again… at least, not by bus with 50 screaming high school seniors (some of whom had sneaked handles of alcohol on the bus as their breakfast). We left Crema at 5 am and arrived in Prague at 7pm. Granted, we did have a nice hour lunch break but aside from that I didn’t get much fresh air that day. I had no idea what to expect of Prague – the only thing I knew about the city was there was a big clock that did things. And beer costs less than water. However, I didn’t see the historic center until the day after, as we soon learned that our hotel was pretty far outside the city and the metro closed at midnight (we only learned about the 24 hour trams the last night of the trip…very convenient for the teachers who wanted to sleep the other nights).

Anyway, we finally made it to the historic center and saw all the typical touristy things during our trip, including:

– old Jewish ghetto

– Parizka Street with all the fancy shops

– Old Town Plaza (where there’s the clock)

– Malà Strana (the Little City which is raised above Prague on the other riverbank. It was originally the city center but then the city expanded).

– Charles Bridge

– Wenceslas Plaza (where there’s the memorial to Jan Palach)

The important part of the trip was the food (at least, for me) and so here’s a list of places that I really enjoyed. A helpful app is the TripAdvisor Prague city guide, with built-in, no-internet-necessary navigator and the ability to keep a travel log of all the places you’ve been. So, if you happen to find yourself in Prague, go to:
Museum of Beer

U Pinkasu

Tri Café! (I absolutely adore this place. It’s very small but they make a mean Chai Latte. Not to mention their baked goods are out of this world).

Potrefena Husa (it’s a chain of restaurants in the Czech Republic but their food is high quality and it’s not expensive. Plus, they served a good number of vegetarian dishes, which is hard to find in the Czech Republic).

– If you’re really into dancing or clubbing, you can check out Chapeau Rouge. Three floors, not as invaded by students as Karlovy Lazne (biggest discoteca in central Europe)

– Finally, if you want some live music and a cool atmosphere, check out Ungelt Jazz and Blues Club.

Overall, I have to say Prague was very enticing as a city. The little winding streets, the german architecture, the food that made me feel at home even though I was four thousand miles away. I do feel I missed out a bit because I was with students and not as free as I normally am when I travel. In addition, the city was invaded by rambunctious groups of Italian students who, like us, were on school trips so it felt like we hadn’t even left Crema. That being said, I did make a lot of new bonds with students who I had never had a chance to speak with outside the classroom. Personally, I think Prague looks best when the grey, cloudy skies let a little bit of light through. Too much sun and it looks almost uncomfortable, like the city isn’t used to seeing cloud-less blue skies.

IMG_4808 As for the “beyond” part, I’m heading down to Bologna this weekend for Easter! As they say in Italy: Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi! (Christmas with your parents, Easter with whoever you wish). And then later on, a trip to Lisbon. But that is still in the works (though I’ve been spending my free time learning some Portuguese). I can’t believe it’s already basically April, though today I noticed that finally I could stay in my room past 6pm with the window open and the lights off and not feel like I was in solitary confinement. Viva daylight savings time!

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