Welcome to Prague! I arrived in Prague for my semester abroad on the 24th after flying from Newark to Copenhagen to Prague. Everyone from the program I’m in flew in to the airport at the same time and we were shuttled to one of the nicer hotels in Prague, Corinthia Towers Hotel. From my apartment room now, I can see the hotel. It looks over the whole city, giving guests a great view.
That first afternoon, I went out with my hotel roommate Derek to a nearby pub. I enjoyed a Czech beer named Krusovice and goulash. Between the two of us, Derek and I spoke maybe three words of Czech, but the waiter was really helpful in letting us know what was on the menu. The area around the hotel isn’t the most touristy area, so prices were very good. In most places in Prague, outside the Old Town, you can get a filling meal and a few beers for less than ten dollars. Tonight for instance, I had goulash again and a liter of beer and paid 100 koruna, which is about $5.65. I know I’ve written a lot about beer so far, and that’s not because I’m out getting trashed every night. Beer is an integral part of Czech culture and many drink it at every meal.
So, I digress. After getting some food, in my super-jetlagged state, I slept for about 10 hours. The next morning, we moved in to our apartment. Each apartment has three Americans and a Czech student that acts as a guide and friend. We have huge ceilings and the rooms are very large. I’ll put up pictures when I take them.
Most of our time has been spent at the CIEE Study Center, getting acclimated with Prague (finding the supermarkets, knowing which trams to take, etc.), and meeting people. There are four or five people here from Penn State. I didn’t know any of them before coming here. Other schools with a good deal of people here are Bates, USC, Georgetown, UW-Madison, and University of Colorado-Boulder.
Last night was the first time I went out in the city. We took a tram to Old Town and went to this club the locals call Po-Po. It was pretty cool because it was underground and it felt like a cave. There were a ton of CIEE people there and they were playing American music from about six months ago.
Tomorrow, we’re doing more walking around the city, and then going to see the Czech Foreigner Police to register our visas, which apparently can be an excruciatingly long process.
The atmosphere here is much different than in America. As a result of Communism, people don’t really smile very much. Customer service is pretty terrible. Also, people generally don’t talk on public transportation, and dogs are normally off the leash.
So, that’s an update from the past few days. Hope everything is awesome in the States.