In our hostel we are staying in an 8-person room because it is the cheapest, so each night we can be with any random 6 people. When we got to the hostel on Thursday, we were the first moving into the room, so it kind of made it feel like this is OUR room, and all incoming guests were therefore intruding into OUR room. Luckily our possessiveness wasn’t a problem because all the people were generally nice and so we figured we would let them stay in our room.
One night a pair of Australian guys came and they were nice so we let them stay in our room. When they first met us they were like “whoa, let me guess, you are from the U.S.” because apparently they say I have an accent (I never really thought I had an accent but everyone here says I do). Anyways, we started talking and they were really nice and funny and they asked us to go out to the bar with them that night, but Sarah and I had to study (I don’t know what for since I don’t have finals, right?) so they went on a pub-crawl our hostel advertised.
That night when they got in they were a huge mess and they were still rowdy from being out. One of the guys left to use the bathroom or get water or something and got locked out so he started knocking on the door. I eventually ended up answering and he was super apologetic and then he went and punched his friend and said “Why didn’t you answer the door!?” and his friend said “who was it?” to which the locked out guy yelled “me you dumb ass!”.
(River and Charles Bridge)
I feel like this story isn’t as funny typed out, especially since I had to explain so much, but all the people in OUR room started laughing.
Anyways, that morning we had breakfast and then headed to the castle quarter to do some more touring. On the way we walked across Charles Bridge, which was covered with street performers, artists, and bands. In the castle quarter we visited the St. Vitus Cathedral, which was my favorite, Golden Lane, a small street with tiny old shops, a couple other small churches, which weren’t very interesting, and then a medieval castle that had a hallway so big that they used to have jousts in it!
An interesting fact I learned along the tour was that Prague used to have a Defenestration law. According to this law, if a government official wasn’t behaving appropriately it was legal to push them out of a window, and what is funny is that people actually took advantage of the law. I were a government worker during this time I would avoid all windows at all times.
After seeing all the sights in the castle quarter we headed to the markets to buy a side of some potato dish that was covered with cheese for our breakfast sandwiches that we saved for lunch (we really are being penny-pinchers on this trip).
(Stained glass window in the Cathedral)
The night before the Spanish guy I had met on the plane had e-mailed me about meeting up, and we were planning on going to a café after lunch, but by the time we finished it was too late to meet them, so we ended up making plans to meet up that night. So after a short nap we woke up and met with them and then walked to a restaurant to get drinks and talk.
(Giant hall that had jousts)
We ended up talking about the school systems in the US and in Spain after they asked us to go out with them and we said we were going to study. I could go on and on talking about the differences in the system and which one is better/worse, but I would probably end up writing a 5 page pointless rant (particularly because I am so frustrated with my finals situation), so I will save talking about the differences and complaining about their system for a separate post. These posts are about my travels and I still refuse to face the reality of my classes and finals in Spain (but seriously…I really am going to give this topic its own post, partly so you can see I am not just being whiny about these finals, partly just so I can
(View of Prague)
We hung out with the Spaniards for a few hours then parted ways after making plans to meet up the next day to go out for some classic Czech cuisine.
(Me and Sarah with Prague in the background)
For our last day in Prague we didn’t really have any big touring plans (because we had been such efficient tourists the first few days!), so we just wandered around and tried to hit some of the smaller sites Rick recommends.
(Delicious sugary cinnamon thing I was talking about)
(Cooking said sugary cinnamon thing)
We crossed Charles Bridge again to get over to the other side of the river and then we wandered around some parks and markets in the Little Quarter; from there we walked to the John Lennon wall.
In 1980, John Lennon was murdered, this wall was spontaneously covered in graffiti saying things like, “all you need is love” and “John Lives” in Czech. Each day the Soviets would come and paint over the wall, only to have to repeat their efforts the next day after more graffiti popped up over night. Today the wall is still covered in graffiti and a lot of tourists (like me and Sarah) go by to take their pictures and sign the wall.
(John Lennon wall)
From the John Lennon wall we headed towards the Klementinum to check out the “largest library in Eastern Europe.” Being a nerd, I was extremely excited to see so many books in one place and to take pictures, but we went to the sight only to find out it was closed for reconstruction.
At this point it was extremely cold and windy, so Sarah and I decided to get hot chocolate in a café just so that we could sit inside and get out of the cold. We still were being penny-pinchers, so we just ordered hot chocolate (which was AMAZING! It was so rich and then it had the best homemade whip cream on top), and then we decided to eat our breakfast sandwiches at lunch.
It probably is frowned upon (okay, it is definitely frowned upon) to bring outside food into a restaurant and eat, but Sarah and I were trying to be cheap and it was sooooo cold outside. When we whipped out our breakfast sandwiches and started eating, we got strange looks from the waiters, but rather than put away our sandwich and just eat later, we decided to yell things loudly at each other and pretend like we were in a fight so maybe they wouldn’t come up and bother us.
Overall the strategy worked, although it was slightly uncomfortable/embarrassing, but since we started our Big Trip and spent hours walking around in the cold, I have really lost concern for what is “socially appropriate” in favor of being warm and cheap.
After enjoying the warm restaurant and our amazing hot chocolate, we headed to our Christmas concert! With the cold weather and Christmas markets and decorations, I have really been getting in the Christmas mood, so I was excited to hear some carols and maybe sing quietly along. The theater with the concert was beautiful and the songs the orchestra and choir played were really pretty, but unfortunately they were all Czech Christmas songs!
(Theater for the advent concert)
I guess this is one of those examples of being American-centric and I shouldn’t have thought that another country would have the same Christmas song as us, but I thought that maybe they would play a Nutcrackers song or something that is Christmassy in all cultures. At the end of the performance the conductor turned around and played some song that I assume is a well-known Christmas carol in Czech. Obviously I had no idea what the words were and I didn’t recognize the tune at all, but I wanted to feel the Christmas spirit and fit in so badly I pretended to know the song and mumbled along with made up words. Although it was kind of disappointing not getting to hear a carol I recognized, I really enjoyed the music and it going to a concert in Prague was a pretty cool, unique experience!
(Me and Sarah after the concert)
The Spaniards met us outside of the Theater after the concert and we walked over to a small pub, recommended by my buddy Rick, to have goulash. Sarah and I split some goulash and a cucumber salad, and we mainly kept to ourselves over dinner because we didn’t have the energy to talk in Spanish and they were discussing how they are more proud to be Catalan than Spanish and other Spanish-people-problems, so we didn’t really have much to contribute anyways.
After dinner we said our goodbyes and then headed to the markets to have one more amazing cinnamon dough thing dessert before going back to the hostel and watching the Nutcracker on youtube and going to bed.