Krizikova is an up and coming neighborhood in Prague where you can get to the city center in 10 minutes. It’s a place I could see myself living. Shops, cafes, restaurants, and parks within walking distance of my apartment was lovely and convenient. The metro was under a 5 minute walk and easy to navigate once I figured it out.
I found a pub, where I had conversations with the owner and waitress but was mostly left to my own devices. The food was amazing, the portion sizes were large and the local beer was fantastic. I never spend more than 150 czk on a meal and beer, that’s around $10. Before heading to the apartment I wanted to check out bar next door. I was shocked to walk in and find that they allowed smoking. Shocked and surprised by the cloud of smoke, but not wanting to be rude by turning around and walking out, I made my way to the bar. I ordered one drink, thinking I could stand it but I could not. I drank half of the beer and headed to the apartment.
It had been a long day and my tour with Vovanovaque started bright and early 7 am. I opened the windows to let the fresh night air in and fell promptly to sleep. The sun rises around 5:30 am and I am rising with it. It could have been pure exhaustion or the bed was just that comfortable but I haven’t slept that good since or before that night.
Getting dressed and giving myself plenty of time to get to Wenceslas to meet with Vlad, I grab a map and head out at 6 am. The night before I got directions to the train station and I had a map so I am good, right? NO!
As I enter the train station, panic grips me. There are hundreds of people coming and going on their way to work and I can’t figure out the ticket system. There is one machine with about 20 buttons with numbers beside them and labeled in Czech. The transit map is in Czech and my map in my hand was in English. I can’t figure out which button to push or what they are even say. Asking someone for helped seemed out of the question because I was nervous, scared and shy. (I am normally outgoing, gregarious, and friendly)
After 15 minutes of trying to figure out what to do and looking like an idiot, I decide that I am not far from the City Center and I can walk there. I have done a lot of stupid things but act has made the top of the list. Once again, my map is in English and streets signs are in Czech so I get TOTALLY turned around. By this time it is already 6:45 am and out of frustrations and self pity, I prop myself up against a wall and cry.
(side note: I have only cried twice on this trip. 1. In Ireland when I had to drive in the country for the first time 2. In Prague, trying to to get to the City Center)
As in Ireland, I talked myself down by telling myself to suck it up and figure it out. In my mind, I am already late and I feel absolutely terrible that I have kept this guy waiting. If I do make it, will he even be there? Like a beacon on a hill…there is a corner Starbucks. Yes, folks, Starbucks. It is 7 am and I walk in order, with confidence a grande Pike Place Roast and ask for directions.
The barista was kind and patient as she told me exactly how to get a ticket, and which stop to take once I was on the train. Thanking her over and over, I make my way back to the station for the 100th time.
Before leaving the states I got the international phone plan which would allow text and talk for a 24 hour fee once activated. Not know if he would get the message, I texted Vlad and told him I got lost but would try to get to him as soon as possible. This one text cost me $10.
HOOZAH…I am on the train. Arriving at Wenceslas Square in less than 10 minutes, I need to find a man that may or may not be there, someone whom I have never met and vaguely know what he looks like.
Prague Lessons 1:
- Some establishments still allow smoking inside
- Get a map that is in Czech and English
- STUDY the transit system before hand
- Get an international plan on your phone
- Food and beer are cheap
- Crying can be good for you