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Where We Are: Prague, Czech Republic

I can’t actually figure out if I love Prague, or if I love Prague in Fall specifically. Autumn has turned what I’m sure is an already beautiful city and painted it with the most stunning reds and sparkling golds and popping yellows. I have walked into a fall fairy tale, and the coming weeks will only make it more dreamy.

A view of the fall foliage from Petrin Observation Tower.

I hate to even post these pictures because they simply do not do it justice! I’ve never been more upset with my lack of photography skills and equipment than I was trying to capture the true beauty of this moment. But alas, here’s the best I can offer you.

The view across the river from Střelecký Island.

The city has more to offer than its trees, though. They have the world’s oldest astronomical clock, the world’s largest castle complex and a slew of ornate buildings spanning government regimes and architectural influences and dating back as far as the tenth century. This is so rare amongst European cities where so much of their history was destroyed during the world wars.

Pargue’s Old Town Square, including Tyn Church. (The only reason this square doesn’t look crowded is because everyone is behind me getting ready for the Astronomical clock to chime.)

Traveling through Europe is so different than traveling through South America! We’re working on adapting to the quicker pace of travel, as we switch to spending 3-4 days in cities instead of 1-3 weeks. We have a new language just about every time we cross a border, and we already miss the consistency of just being bad at one langue. We now are arriving in countries where we don’t know a single word of the local language, and can’t even pronounce the words we look up. We miss being gringos, but we’re cool with Prague’s street treats!

Trdelnik is a pastry you can find in shops and street stands all over Prague. It’s a biscuit type pastry that is wrapped around a stick and grilled on a spit before being covered in cinnamon sugar. You can buy them with the insides painted with chocolate, caramel or pistachio cremes. We went with the ice cream filling which was tasty, but messy!

Initial Reactions on Prague

  1. It’s super crowded and everyone is smoking. I don’t know if I’m extra sensitive to this having just spent three months in South America where they have a different understanding of “busy” (as in nothing is ever actually busy), but I feel like everywhere I turn in Prague, there are about 100 other people turning, too. And do they not know about lung cancer here!? Literally, everyone on the street is smoking. It’s nuts!
  2. Czech is a really hard language. I have a hard enough time speaking languages that use the same letters and sounds as English, let alone languages that don’t. They have letters I can’t even pronounce on their own, and definitely can’t pronounce when they’re in words. And thus, we’ve defaulted to speaking only English, which most of the locals we’ve met have spoken, but I still feel quite guilty about that.
  3. Cobblestone is actually the worst. Just about everywhere in Old Town Prague is cobblestone streets and sidewalks. Everyone sees cobblestone and thinks, “Oh, how charming!” and then they walk on it for five minutes and it’s like, “Really!? We couldn’t just build a sidewalk!?” You have to pay attention all the time so you don’t trip, and if you’re not wearing hiking shoes, your feet will hurt almost immediately.

This was actually (mostly) candid! Every time we crossed one of the bridges, I had to stop and swoon for a bit.

What you need to know:

  • Population: 1.3 million
  • Altitude: 235 meters
  • Exchange Rate: 22 Czech Koruna to $1 USD
  • Primary Language: Czech and English
  • Walking Tour: New Europe Free Tour
  • Time Zone: Central European Summer Time, GMT +2 (7 hours ahead of US Central Time)
  • Taxi: Yes
  • Uber: Yes
  • Public Transit: Bus, Street Car, Train
  • Emergency Number: 112 (all responders can speak English)
  • Running: TBD, not sure if we’re going to have time to run here yet.
  • American Football: Yes! We watched the Patriots/Panthers game (noon game in the US means a 7 PM night game in Prague) at JÁMA. It was fun, they had three separate rooms with different games on and reserved the tables for NFL fans.
  • Starbucks: Yes, many.
  • Local Starbucks Specialty: Caramel Popcorn Frappuccino (which was delicious)
  • Coffee Price:  115 CZK (~$5 USD) for a grande Pumpkin Spice Latte and 75 CZK for a grande cold brew (~$3.50 USD) at Starbucks
  • Beer Price: 43 CZK for .4L of a standard draft beer  (~$2 USD)