A few things about my everyday life in Prague
So I lied. Not intentionally of course. I said I was going to write on a weekly basis, but as you can see that hasn’t happened.
I wanted to follow through on that promise, but life can easily get in the way. I keep getting caught in a continuous movement and hustle that can last days or weeks, and the moment I am able to catch my breath I just want to sleep or watch tv.
The unpredictability of travel and my busy schedule has been one roadblock, but there is another as well.
As I have been traveling and going to school abroad, I have had a lot on my mind. I have been questioning a lot about the world, politics, art, my community and myself.
When I write I put a lot of who I am and my emotions in the writing, or at least I try to. But as my minds been swimming in so many questions, it makes writing more difficult because I am so unsure about who I am in the moment and what I believe. What I choose to reveal now may be something I disagree with the next week or even the next day, so it can feel strange to put those feelings into print and the public eye.
But, I am back now for another blog post doing my best to put my best writing foot forward (or would it be writing hand?)
I am a little over the halfway point of my program. I return home in about a month and a half, but after being here for over two months, Prague feels like home now too.
My apartment sits among giant five story buildings that line a street on a small hill.The buildings mostly consist of apartments, but there are a few random businesses along the street. Right next to the apartment is the Orion Club and Restaurant, which is only open on Saturday nights. Around the corner is a small convenience store, and right across from the apartment is what I like to call the mystery room. I think it is a space people can rent out. One day it was a barber shop, another an art show, and most recently a a big group was having a potluck.
At first, the area might not seem like much, but after escaping the entrapment of the tall walls of the buildings you can find a lot of cool places.
Bar Füd is a four minute walk from the apartment right next to the closest bus stop. It’s an American themed restaurant. I know I know, American food in Prague what am I thinking? But it is a fun atmosphere to socialize and they have vegan burgers.
To the left and down a small hill is where you will find the parks, tram line, and some coffee shops. My favorite two are Cafe La Familia and Kavárna Dobrodruha. I have gone to Cafe La Familia a few times to get breakfast with friends and Kavárna Dobrodruha to study. Both have great coffee and a cozy atmosphere .
While there is a good amount to do in the area surrounding my neighborhood I spend a lot of my time in other districts of the city. This is easy to do since the public transportation system in Prague is amazing.
Some of my go too’s are Dog bar, Friends Coffee House, and the I.P. Pavlova district. Dog Bar isn’t the bars official name, it’s real name is Vzorkovna. However, the locals refer to it as a dog bar due to the giant dog that resides there.
Friend’s Coffee House is another hidden gem. It is a quick tram ride away from my apartment. I like the coffee shop because it has a great atmosphere that helps me relax and concentrate.
I will give more detail about both the bar and the coffee shop in future blog posts. I enjoyed both so much that I want to be able to go into full detail about my experiences at each.
Finally, the I.P. Pavlova district. This is where I go to school. To get to school I have to take a bus for two stops, the metro for three stops and then walk for about seven minutes. Its about a 30 minute trip total.
The area has a lot to offer in the realm of food and coffee shops. There are also parks near the school that I have walked to a few times for one of my classes. Throughout the parks, you can get beautiful views of the city. Walk the opposite direction and you come across Náměstí Míru where there is a beautiful church and a park with benches. This is a good spot to sit and relax.While these are some of my personal favorites, no matter what area of Prague you find yourself in there will be cool coffee shops, fun bars, and interesting architecture. It’s part of the charm of the city.
I would say that out of all the goals I had set out for myself at the beginning of the trip to now, I have maintained about 60 percent of them.
I have been keeping in contact with friends regularly, I switched into the full semester language class to better immerse myself into the culture and I have yet to get seriously lost.
The two most difficult tasks have been keeping up with blogging and maintaining my vegan diet. I already explained why blogging has been a struggle, but I will touch on why the vegan diet has been difficult.
I wanted to be vegan while abroad but that didn’t happen, at least not completely. I have been more vegetarian since being in Prague. Within the first few days here the program provided us with a few meals. However there were no vegan options. Being hungry, not knowing how to get around at this time and wanting to save money– I chose to have the vegetarian meal. This happened a few more times in Prague, on the Vienna and Budapest tour, and when I went on my trip to Barcelona and Paris. It is hard to find vegan spots when you are in an area you know nothing about and you are trying to explore a new place in just a few short days.
Now don’t get me wrong. I still do my best to eat vegan. I always eat vegan at home. I recently found a vegan grocery store close to my apartment which was exciting.
I knew coming into this that I would have to be more relaxed about my diet, or at least assumed that might happen. I don’t beat myself up about it though. Of course I would have loved to remain completely vegan, but I will return to the full diet when I get back home. Until then I will just keep doing the best I can.
For anyone looking into studying abroad in the Prague area, or just study abroad in general, when it comes to immersing yourself more into the community I suggest the following:
- Learn the language. Even knowing some basic phrases can make you feel more adjusted, plus it’s fun to be able to order an entire meal in Czech and to understand the waiter.
- Follow the cities Instagram or Facebook page if possible. I have found out about a lot of cool markets and events because of the Prague Instagram page.
- Talk to your teachers. Your program is there to help you and support you, and who better to ask for help or ideas than people who have lived in the city for a while.
- Explore. My friends and I have stumbled across some of the best places by just walking around. Prague is a safe city so exploring on your own is fun too. I like walking around the city at night. The lights on the churches, castles and other landmarks make everything whimsical.
Overall things are going well here. I have my go-to places, but I’m still trying out new spots. I have a great group of friends and roommates. I am challenged daily by the academics, people and culture. Studying abroad, so far, has been an amazing experience. For anyone who can take the time to go abroad for a summer, quarter, semester, or year — do it.