It’s been two weeks since my last blog post, and in these last two weeks I’ve been soaking up the Czech Republic! These past 2 weeks have been BEAUTIFUL. With only a few days of rain, the rest have been sunny and 60-70 degrees! Why does it have to be so nice when I’m about to leave? I could have used this sunshine in April when it was chilly and snowing…but anyway, let me update you on my time here!
Since my last excursion to Kutna Hora, I’ve been swamped with school work. “Studying abroad is easy”…more like stuDYING abroad because I’ve had so many assignments. Granted, I might’ve been procrastinating a bit, but how can you possibly sit inside all day and write papers when it’s sunny and the flowers are blooming!? That was my exact thought process last weekend, since it was the first warm weekend I’ve had in Prague in a while. So on Saturday I grabbed my keys and my purse, plugged my earbuds into my phone and ran out the door! Walking around Prague on your own is really nice. Since I’m a fan of horizontally running, I opted for a leisurely walk in the park at Kampa Island. Kampa Island is a 5 minute walk from my apartment. It’s where people go to rent paddle boats, lay on the grass, and push their kids on the swings. Being that it’s an “island’ it’s completely surrounded by the Vltava River, connected to New Town by a short bridge. I could honestly walk around the park listening to Beyoncé’s new album all day (I could do anything listening to LEMONADE but I digress). The flowers were vibrant, people were smiling, and my skin could finally soak up some sunshine! I love to look at the buildings across from the Island, all brightly colored and old looking. If I had a chair, I would’ve stayed a while longer…
…but my stomach was starting to grumble so I headed toward the farmer’s market! Every Saturday there’s a big farmer’s market that lines the river. There’s a wide variety of food, from the more traditional kolaches and Czech deli meats to cupcakes, pulled pork burgers, and fresh lemonade, there’s something for everyone’s taste buds. I opted for spinach and ricotta ravioli from my favorite pasta company here. I got it as take-away in a Chinese food box (to-go isn’t a thing here) and ate it on my walk back to my apartment. When I got back to my apartment, my roommates Shelby and Kim wanted to go for a walk, so we all headed back to the market. The food selection trades off between markets every other week, so I tried mango green tea lemonade for the first time. By that time the market was closing down, so we took our drinks and walked toward the Charles Bridge. We stopped near a beer garden on the river to sit and watch some zorbing. Zorbing on the river is a new thing that’s here for the warmer weather – people walk around in hamster balls on the water, tripping over themselves most of the time. After laughing at the families struggling inside plastic balls, we headed toward Old Town Square to walk around some more. As soon as we got there we knew it was a bad idea to be anywhere near the bridge/square. Because of the nice weather and tourist season, everyone and their mothers were walking around the area, so Kim quickly got a trdelnik and we ran out of there. On our walk back to the apartment, we stopped at the same beer garden and enjoyed the sunset on the river.
Pictures don’t do the sunset justice! But as you can see, the river was lined with paddle boats, and everyone (like us) was enjoying the nice weather while the sun was setting behind the castle hill. It was a great end to a Saturday afternoon in Prague. That night, we all went to the Burning of the Witches celebration in Lesser Town Square. Burning of the witches is a celebration that marks the end of Winter. People dress up as witches and a stuffed witch is burned at Petrin hill as a symbolic start of Spring. It was kind of a strange experience because all of the crazies of Prague came out to dance around in witch costumes, but it was a fun parade to be a part of!
This is the only picture I got at the festival! Sorry Grandma, my mouth is open…but at least you get to see the new friend I made 😉
On Sunday, I continued to cram in some homework before the school week started, which was a good idea because last week was stressful at school: a presentation, too many group project meetings, and lots of reading assignments. Luckily, every Wednesday my roommate Marissa and I go rock climbing with our study abroad program. It’s a fun way to escape from school work and pick up a new hobby…even though we make fools of ourselves most of the time. We’ve improved a lot since the beginning: we learned how to belay and clip ourselves in! Who would’ve thought I’d go to Prague and learn how to rock climb? Definitely not me.
So fast forward to Thursday (when my weekend started again), some friends and I went to the Prague Zoo! Number 4 in the world, the Prague Zoo is awesome. Again with the beautiful weather, but it was a perfect day to be outside and walk around the zoo. We saw lemurs, tigers, polar bears, and tons of baby animals! There were two newborns at the zoo, a baby gorilla and a baby elephant, and they were adorable. The zoo also has a chairlift between the upper and lower part of the zoo, so we took that!
Since it was Cinco de Mayo, after the zoo we got Mexican food at Las Adelitas in Old Town because we’re apparently those obnoxious American students…but the enchiladas and strawberry daiquiris were amazing 🙂
The next day, Friday, I went to Cesky Krumlov with my study abroad program. Cesky Krumlov is about a 3 hour bus ride away from Prague. Cesky Krumlov means “Czech curl” because the Vltava river wraps around the city in the shape of a curl. We went on a tour of the city, inside the castle, and all around the town square. The Cesky Krumlov castle is beautiful, with dramatically furnished rooms and gigantic tapestries lining the walls. Bears surround the castle to this day, as if to protect it in place of a mote. We saw all three bears! We also walked around the castle gardens and enjoyed Springtime in the fairytale city.
Literally a fairytale.
On Saturday (yesterday) a bunch of us went to a Sparta Praha soccer game. For less than $8 we got front row tickets!!! Gotta love Prague. Just like the hockey game I went to, the Czech fans were very enthusiastic. Everyone was wearing Sparta gear (including us) and singing chants. It was a really cool way to experience the Czech culture, and I’d gladly go back again! We won 3-0 too!
This post is insanely long, but I can’t help it! I’m SO glad that I’ve gotten to experience more of the Czech Republic lately. From weird Witch ceremonies, to relaxing like the locals in Prague, to exploring quaint fairytale cities and celebrating soccer victories, I’ve done a lot! I’m so grateful for the opportunities I’ve had, the friendships that have been formed, and the memories I’ve made here.
It’s starting to hit me that my study abroad experience is coming to an end…I only have 13 days left here?? Crazy. More posts to come soon before I leave this wonderful place!!
P.S. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! I wish I could celebrate with you today ❤