So, I've been in Prague for about 57 hours now (but who's counting)...and I can hardly believe it! I almost feel like I've been here for a week already! I've gotten more courageous in attempting to speak Czech. I'm still not good, but you gotta try to get there. I found that I'm remember a lot of German along the way. Some things are posted in Czech and German and in that case, I can at least recognize what I'm buying. Last night I went to the grocery store and had to make some good educated guesses as to what I was buying. Thankfully the salami and cheese turned out to be very tasty and made a good sandwich. I know, not too crazy exciting, but it was about all I was up for yesterday.
My schedule is very off, given the time change. And I've also found that I have very little appetite, which I don't seem to recall from previous overseas journeys. I have been a little bit nervous, so perhaps that's what it is. Anyways, I have been eating and even ate out today. I had a spicy goulash with pork and beef and bread. It was very tasty! I of course had to have a Czech beer - Pilsner Urquell to wash it down. Yum!
After sleeping way too late, I finally got up and got out the door around 1 pm. I showered first - not overly exciting, but I had to share the unique experience of watching the water heater burner burn while taking a shower. I have a direct line of site into the heater and can see the flames while in the tub. Kinda creepy and kinda cool.
Anyway, I explored the park near my house Karlovo namesti - St. Charles Square and then went to one of the metro stops in an effort to acquire my monthly transport pass. When I went to my company's office on Monday, one lady gave me directions to do this along with a note written in Czech to help acquire this pass. She said the workers there are really rude and refuse to speak English, but to try and get it. The other lady in the office said I should wait and go with a university student worker to help translate. The first lady quickly replied, " She is tough, she can try." So, I did! This lady also said she'd help me get the pass tomorrow if I couldn't do it, though she seemed less than thrilled with that plan. So, I was determined to get this done.
First step, get pictures taken. Sounds easy enough. I did this yesterday actually, and as is true with my new Iowa Driver's License, I look like a convict. Not good. I guess it was ok, considering there were only instructions in czech and a green oval came up on the screen. I assumed I had to get the middle of my face in the oval...but not really sure. They turned out fine and the lady accepted it today. I have three more lovely photos, two of which I need for more paperwork tomorrow with my office.
Anyway, so I stand in line for a while and as time passes, I'm getting more and more nervouse. Then I figure, what's the worst that will happen? She might yell at me in Czech, but I won't know what she is saying nor will I know anyone here, so who cares? Finally, I reach the front of the line and hand the nice lady my note and say hi in czech: Ahoj. She shows the paper to the other lady working and kinda chuckles and says something to the other woman. She asked for my passport and within about 5 minutes, I had my laminated id card and pass for this month. Can't wait to go again and get next month's version. I wonder if I'll need a note for that?
After that major accomplishment, I wandered. And I didn't get lost! Ok, so kinda cheesy reference to my blog name, but it was true. I had my trusty map and thankfully a good sense of direction and I just went. I could see a church down the way from the metro so I went there. I don't remember the name, but it was gorgeous! Then I walked down to the museum and opera house. There were signs advertising an opera and an upcoming concert. I cannot wait to go! Perhaps this weekend! Then I walked through Wenceslas Square (Very touristy area). I remembered the advice of our waitress at Little Prague in Davis, CA to be mindful of my bag. Apparently, this is an infamous area for pickpocketers.
Wenceslas Square is named for Saint Wenceslas the patron saint of Bohemia. This area is well known for political demonstrations and celebrations. I really just breezed through this area (and had lunch). I re-learned that food in the touristy areas is way expensive! But, I felt it was a treat for accomplishing my transport pass mountain and well, truth is I am a tourist this week at least. :)
After the square I walked towards the Old Town area where the old city hall is located. This is yet another tourist mecca, and there was even a Starbucks on the corner of this beautiful historic site. Don't worry, there's a picture to come soon! On my way from there, I happened upon the Jewish historic district and then to the river, which I walked along to the Charles Bridge and back home. It's amazing to me how close everything is, and how accessible to public transportation everything is too! I didn't go into any of the museums or other sites today, I just wanted to get a feel of this amazing city - my new home.
I am still in awe that I live here! I walked home and found my way without a map. It's handy that the river is just down the street. :) Back at home and I spent my evening making a simple dinner of pasta and sauce and unpacking. I only have one small area (ha, this whole room is small) left to organize. That will wait until tomorrow, as I'm going to try to get some sleep at a normal time tonight. Which is also the reason I haven't posted any pictures today. I'll get on that in the next few days...promise!