Czech-ing Out a New Country

“Kdo hledá, najde. (He who seeks shall find.)”

Czech Proverb

Side note: I am super behind on updating this blog so major apologies but I will get better at it soon!

At this point, I have been in Europe for officially one week and have already set foot in 3 different countries (5 if you count layovers in airports)! We attempted to take Berlin public transportation to the bus station to take the bus from Berlin to Prague and failed miserably (thank god for Uber!). But we made it to Prague and all is beautiful and well! We also figured out the public transportation and were able to take it from the bus station to our hostel and managed to convert Euros to Czech Korunas!

Day 1: We arrived with half a day left to explore Prague! After checking in to our hostel, we grabbed a bite to eat at this international vegetarian/ vegan place and then decided to explore the city. Our hostel was about a mile away from the city center, so it took us a bit of a walk to get there, but one thing that I noticed on the way is that there are so many asian restaurants in Prague (definitely not expecting this).

We got tired along the way and stopped for some gelato before heading through old town for some trdelnik (chimney cake). The trdelnik I had was filled with ice cream, so it was essentially like eating ice cream inside a soft churro-like cake cone. I HIGHLY recommend it. Another nice thing about Prague is that everything is super cheap, which is why we had so many desserts and I didn’t feel too bad about it (then again, maybe it’s a bad thing).

We ended up wandering to St. Charles Bridge (one of the most famous bridges in Prague). There weren’t too many people around because it was dark outside, but there was a man with owls, a group of people with masks, and a couple of other wanderers like us. We crossed the bridge and wandered around a church and this cute little square (could not tell you where we were), but we made some notes as to where we wanted to go in the daytime and headed home.

That night, we went out to Duplex, a rooftop nightclub there. Girls got in free (yay!), and it wasn’t crowded at all when we got there. Europeans love to party and go out, but they do it far later than Americans do (which I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to). We stayed only for a bit because we were exhausted from walking around all day, but it was fun just to dance! Over time, a lot more guys showed up to the point where I felt like the ratio of guys to girls was 1:7, but we didn’t make eye contact with them and they left us alone. Another weird thing other than the gender ratio was that there were a lot of older people out at dancing at the club. It was entertaining to see this one couple busting it down like there was nobody else around them. Definitely a weird night, but all ended well and all of the dancing definitely helped me to fall asleep immediately when we returned to the hostel.

Day 2: We decided that exploring would be a lot more fun if there was someone to explain everything to us, so we went on a fun free walking tour of Prague and the Prague castle (pictured above). There were people from Australia, the UK, Austria, Germany, New Jersey, and Hawaii on our tour (what a coincidence)! I talked to the people from Hawaii and of course, we had mutual connections!

The tour itself was so much fun! We took a tram up to the top of the hill to the Prague Castle and Cathedral, and learned about Rudolf, Charles, Maria Theresa, and Václav Havel (two kings, a queen, and the first Czech president). The prettiest part about the castle architecture is that it is kind of a mismatch of different styles, which we learned was because some of the castle was built one way but the queen only liked one style of architecture and demanded that the rest of the castle be changed to another style. The cathedral, took 600 years to build!! There are still some parts that you can tell are meant to have statues and other decorations, but the builders just stopped and thought it was good enough (which I think is an understatement). The inside of the cathedral, not pictures, had beautiful stained glass windows. We didn’t get to go all the way in, but we took a little peak in.

After the tour of the cathedral, we walked around some more and found the astronomical clock and more cute shops. We ate warm goulash, potato dumplings, and other traditional Czech food at Havelska Koruna (shoutout to V for the suggestion!) The tour was really cold so having a nice warm meal really hit the spot.

We tried a different nightclub afterwards, Karlovy Lazne, that is famous for having 5 stories that all have different musical themes (ie. RnB, Mainstream, Oldies, etc.) Again, we got there earlier than the rest of the crowd and actually had a dance floor to ourselves (which was a lot more enjoyable than I thought). It was a weeknight and thus only ended up being filled with other tourists. Like most other things, the company is what makes the experience, so regardless of who came in and out of the club, my friends and I had a blast. I would definitely come back on a weekend-night if I visited Prague again.

Day 3: Today was the nicest day in Prague we’ve had. It was a lot warmer than the other two days and it was finally sunny (as you can tell from the pictures above). We went on a journey back to St. Charles Bridge to see what it was like in the daytime!! It was incredibly crowded with tourists (lots of Asian ones too), street artists, musicians, and more! We also looked for two statues that our tour guide from yesterday pointed out: one was of a saint and the other of a dog. Apparently, people come to touch both the saint and the dog for blessings, but the dog was made as a prank for tourists to touch! We did not touch either statue, but it was funny to know. We then headed to a cute cafe and had crepes (not originally Czech but still incredible). Afterwards, we wandered around the bridges and tried to go to a new art exhibit, but it apparently was not open (we did however find a clean free bathroom in the exhibit and that was a win!). Prague is easily walkable and there are just pretty buildings everywhere, so I didn’t mind getting lost and just taking in the view.

We still had some time to kill before we had to catch a bus back to the Netherlands, so we continued to check out some of the shops around Prague. They have so many bohemian crystal stores and pirate-themed candy shops. We ended up buying some gummies for the bus-ride back, and they were all so good! It didn’t take me long to finish them either.

If you haven’t caught on already, I have a huge sweet tooth 🙂 !

Prague was an amazing city, and also taught me a lot because it was my first trip with just friends and me (Berlin was organized by the school). It was definitely nerve-wracking at time to make sure that everything was in place and organized (transportation and housing wise). Now that I know that I can do it, we’ll have to see where I go next!

I officially started school a week after this trip, with orientation in between! Stay tuned for an update of being a student abroad and upcoming trips in a few weeks!

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