And I'm off...
Prague Travel Blog› entry 1 of 6 › view all entries
May 30th, 2007 – by: Maureenie
I must say that this was not my original intent. I tried to get Nikki to come with me and we looked at calendars, and explored different weekends, etc, but it just wasn’t going to work out with how many visitors she was having from home. I had the time, and had heard great things about Prague, so I sorted out my travel plans, crossed my fingers, and hopped on a plane.
I must admit that I didn’t really know anything about Prague. My desire to go there was almost entirely based on novelty. So, before I left I bought a small travel book, figured out all the “important” places to hit up, foods to eat, and taught myself several vocabulary words (hi, thank you, please, sorry).
Getting on the bus, plane, etc. was starting to feel routine. I thought I was such a pro. Until I got into Prague, that is. Although I had tried to sort out how to get to the hostel, once I got off the plane I had no idea where I was supposed to go to get to the city. Everyone says that in all the big international cities of the world that there are always directions in English. Not here. Not around the airport, at least. Finally I figured out that I had to take a bus to find the nearest underground station, but did not know where the bus was. I tried asking people. The transportation person in the airport sold me a roundtrip ticket on the bus, but I didn’t understand when told where to catch said bus. They also say that everyone in major international cities speaks a little bit of English. Not here. This one old, homeless looking dude noticed that I seemed really lost and tried to help me out. In Czech. I tried to use my little bits of pieces of words that I’d tried to learn before I left, but kept retreating in embarrassment that I was probably pronouncing them awfully. The conversation probably sounded something like:
Dude: Fkuih kjehf jjio klkljfoi! Lakjnf lij!
Dude: Dienwoijf. Afoimoidwwwqq. Ghijkk. GHIJKK!
Eventually I was lead by this man to a bus and boarded it uncertainly. I tried to thank him many times, but I don’t know if he got it. I wondered after I got on the bus if he was hoping I’d pay him... awkward... Anyway, after a while the bus stopped and made everyone get off. I got off, but was really confused. It didn’t look like the city. I followed a handful of people to what turned out to be the underground system. Somehow I made it to the stop I was supposed to get off at (Namesti Republiky), albeit bewildered, confused, and just a bit stressed out, and emerged into the streets of Prague. Prague is dazzling. The architecture was unlike any I’d seen before. Although there were loads of modern storefronts, this city doesn’t seem to have been infused with the same amount of modern architecture as other cities. It was nighttime when I got in, but I didn’t feel unsafe walking around those streets (maybe I didn’t know better). Anyway, I finally found the hostel down an awkward side street behind some huge store called Kotva. I was starving so I went out to have dinner. I asked the person at the desk for some recommendations and they showed me on a map where a good area might be.
I wanted to find somewhere I could get some space to myself so I went to this restaurant where I could sit outside on the cobblestone street and eat beef goulash and dumplings, which is apparently one of the most traditional meals of the area. As I sat there enjoying my goulash and bottled water (I’ll have to figure out how to ask for tap water), I wrote down lists of things I wanted to do and see while I was here in this strange city by myself. I did not feel afraid or alone. It was extremely freeing.
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