So I’m in Prague!! It’s so strange to think that I’m actually here, after all the planning and choosing and organizing and everything. I’m here. I live in Prague. It definitely hasn’t been a walk in the park, I’ll admit that. There’s been lots of ups and downs so far, and plenty of laughter and tears.
My flight to Prague left from Dublin at 12.15 Sunday, October 7. It was an early rise, as I’m from Cork, and also had to be there 2 hours before the flight to check in my large bag. I was so lucky and grateful that Eimear came. It was so fabulous to have her for the first few days.
Culture Shock & Cheap Wine
For our first evening, we had planned dinner at an American restaurant and bar, followed by some relaxed drinks in the Tiki Taky Cocktail bar. We had this planned for almost a week before we were set to leave for Prague so you can imagine how excited we were!
The student apartment I’m moving into wasn’t meant to be ready until Monday, October 15, so Eimear and I booked an Air BnB in Prague 2 for the week. The landlady arranged for a taxi to pick us up at the airport and take us to her Air BnB. The place was fabulous. It was so homely and cozy, and I loved the set up of the bedroom we were in. The house was cluttered with lots of useful things such as dictionaries and guidebooks for Prague, as well as a little noticeboard with menus and little notes saying, “Great for breakfast,” etc. We didn’t actually meet the landlady, but we had her number and she was always only a text away.
We settled ourselves a bit and took a walk around the area, stopped in a Mini Market and picked up a few essentials, y’know yourself- €3 wine, a share pack of Lays and some other snacks.
We changed outfits and topped up our makeup and went off on our way. As I said we were beyond excited for this amazing restaurant we had been looking up and planning for ages. I got the classic bacon-cheddar and we halved a portion of chips. We also got a glass of wine, when we realized a glass was the equivalent of a euro. It was good wine too.
I was about halfway through my burger when I realized how red it was. Though it tasted so good, I was shook. I’m aware of how you can do steaks rare, medium rare, well done etc., but this burger was genuinely beyond rare. There was no blood, and it was hot, and really did taste amazing. I was only in the country about 2 hours and already I was experiencing a massive culture shock.
The burger was nice, but I doubt I would go back to the restaurant, as Eimear and I felt the service wasn’t the greatest, and though the chips were also tasty they came cold also. It was an anti-climax to something we’d hyped up so much.
Off we went to the Tiki Taky Cocktail Bar to tick off the first thing on our Prague Bucket Lists. The Tiki Taky Cocktail Bar was everything I had anticipated when planning to go there, and more. It was amazing, and I can guarantee I’ll definitely be returning in due course.
We’d planned to have our relaxing dinner and cocktails Sunday and go into Prague 1, the main area to explore Monday, and we did just that. With a little help from our good ole’ friend Google Maps, we got everywhere we wanted to go to. It actually took us ages to get to Old Town Square, because we kept stopping in all the shops on the way, but that’s okay too. We popped into Sephora, and I’m fairly certain it’s my first time being in a Sephora shop as there’s none local to where I live.
We eventually got into Old Town Square and saw the Astronomical Clock, which is pretty spectacular. You could say that for 99% of Prague, though. The buildings are amazing, they are so large, but at the same time the city seems so open.
Eimear had booked a boat trip with the company Prague’s Venice so we made our way to Charles Bridge and went on the trip, it was amazing, and definitely, something to consider doing if you are in Prague!
On Monday, we heard about the Drunken Monkey Pub Crawl so bought tickets to do that for Tuesday evening. I’m not joking when I think it was one of the best experiences ever. For €20 the ticket entitles you to a free bar in the Drunken Monkey from 8-10. During this time there is wine, beer, vodka shooters, rum, and absinthe, as well as games such as Beer Pong and giant Jenga. After that, some reps from the Drunken Monkey take everyone out to 3 different nightclubs with a free shot on entry to each club. On Tuesday we actually didn’t leave the Drunken Monkey until 11pm, so had an extra hour at the free bar, and went to Nebe and Chapeau Rouge. I really liked Chapeau Rouge. There was loads of the crawl from all different nationalities, and we made friends with loads!
We explored the other side Charles Bridge on Wednesday. We visited the John Lennon Wall, and Kampa Island, and just wandered around that side of Prague. The John Lennon Wall was way better than I expected. I knew it was going to be fabulous, but it really lived up to the expectations. There was even a busker singing songs by the Beatles and John Lennon which added to the atmosphere. We also visited Prague Castle, which is huge!
The orientation for my host university, Metropolitan was on Tuesday of the week. A Whatsapp group chat was set up about a month or so ago for all incoming Erasmus students to MUP and through that, a pre-orientation orientation was arranged for Monday evening.
Though I knew no one it was definitely worth going, because I obviously met loads of people, and would be able to recognize faces come Tuesday and when classes started.
The Orientation wasn’t bad. We got loads of important information, and there weren’t any questions left unanswered across all aspects of life in Prague and college at MUP. I had been deliberating taking on Czech, and when the head of the Czech department came to talk to us he definitely swayed me towards taking it on.
I think it would only be right to be able to learn some basic phrases whilst I’m living here, as so far I’ve found the Czech people can be quite cold when approached in English.
Thursday was an awful day for me to be blunt with things. We got up early as Eimear had decided she wanted to get a caricature, so off we went to Charles Bridge. The caricature is amazing. It really does look like Eimear, and I’m definitely going to get one before I go back to Ireland.
Though I promised myself I wouldn’t be upset about Eimear leaving to go home to Ireland, I was inevitably very sad. It wasn’t even that, I wanted to go home with her, and leave Prague, it was just that I know realized the reality of Erasmus.
I decided to busy myself and went to Tesco, thinking I was going to make a bolognese for my dinner. I couldn’t work the cooker. So settled for a fabulous bowl of Cornflakes for my dinner, because I was just so stubborn that I wasn’t going back to the shop.
I decided to put on some Netflix, and noticed I had an email from the agency I am dealing with regarding my accommodation. The email explained that for legal reasons I can’t move into my apartment for another week. For some reason, I really saw that coming, even before I came to Prague I said it to mom.
The Air BnB I am currently in is already booked for Monday, but thankfully I found something else in Prague 5 for the week. It’s a bit out, but it’ll be perfect for the week.
I ended up strolling to McDonald and bought myself a happy meal for my dinner. Yes, I am 19, don’t judge me.
Making Friends & Starting College
I knew Thursday was just ‘one of those days’, and I was determined to have a more positive Friday. The college had been organizing a flag parade to take place from 2.30, and though it was extremely out of my comfort zone because I still hadn’t made any solid friends I decided to go for it.
I got talking to a girl I spoke to on Monday, and from there my discomfort left, and spoke to loads. We walked around Prague, and just mingled whilst walking. I even met a girl that I’ll be moving in with, once the “legal issues” are sorted, which was so coincidental.
I went out Friday night with a girl from Dublin I had made friends with via Facebook. We went out with her housemates to Chapeau Rouge for ladies night. We got on so well, and it’s as if we knew each other for ages.
There is a light festival called Signal Festival in Prague at the moment, and I arranged to meet up with the girl I would be sharing an apartment with and another girl via the Whatsapp group, and we had such a fabulous night walking around.
Prague was so busy. I’m not sure if it was to do with the festival or because it was Saturday night. Probably a combination of the two. We decided we’d go for a drink, and it took us an age to find somewhere that actually had a free table.
All in all, it’s been such a good experience so far, and I know it’ll only get better, once I start classes tomorrow and get a routine, and then once I finally have a stable apartment to live in come next week! Prague is so beautiful, and I’m absolutely delighted this is where I ended up for my Erasmus. I’ve learned so much so far, and I know I’ll learn loads more as the weeks go on.
Have you been to Prague before? Have you ever moved countries alone? Let me know your experiences in the comments!