(Czech)ing Off Another Country From My List: Prague, Czech Republic

Day 20 – 22

Cordoba --> Madrid --> Prague

With my host family gone for the weekend for Sonia’s graduation, I decided to make the most of my free time and jetted off to Prague. Jack Lyon, Jay Robinson and Peter Willis are there for a few days and told me I could tag along. I was going to do Madrid or Sevilla, but the chance to scratch off another country from my map was too good to resist.

I left Cordoba early and then flew out of Madrid. Once I landed, after 8 hours of traveling, I had a taxi take me to the guy’s Air BNB. The Czech language is impossibly hard and even guessing at words is unmanageable. So, luckily, pointing to a phone screen at the long address sufficed.

I got to the place right as the boys were coming back from the city center- thank God too because I would have never found it on my own after the taxi driver dropped me off in the middle of the street mumbling something about a bus. The Air BNB was huge and right as we went upstairs there was a double rainbow spanning across the otherwise gray sky, welcoming me to the gloomy city.

We had dinner then went back to pregame and meet up with two Australian kids the guys had befriended the day before. Of course, taking shots of absinthe was only the obvious choice since we were in Prague, after all. The Listerine colored, 70 proof alcohol is truly disgusting. If I ever smell black licorice again, I’m certain I’ll vomit on cue.

That night we went to 5 or 6 different bars and clubs. The first bar, Double Trouble, was underground and packed to the brim. It was my favorite of the night, but that might be because it’s the only one I fully remember. Absinthe seriously is not my friend.

Ruby’s and James Dean were our next stops and then we ended at a 5 story club, boasting a different theme per floor, near the river. Going out in Prague is great because the cobble stone streets prevent girls from even thinking about wearing heels, so going to clubs in pants and sneakers is completely acceptable. Score!

We ended the night around 6 am and thanks to my curse of always, without fail, waking up super early after a night out, I did not sleep at all and was awake for hours waiting for the boys to come out of hibernation. Thank God for Jack though, because he woke up a few hours later and kept me company.

Later that day, after attempting to nap, I met up with the guys in Old Town, went to the Lennon Wall and watched the Czech soccer game at a pub. The Old Town area of Prague is beautiful, especially when the morning rain and fog decide to fade away. I loved the Lennon Wall, which everyone does. But, when Jack came to find me there and asked if I felt inspired from it, I realized that that’s the best word to use to describe it: inspiring. Something about looking at the hundreds of words written by millions of people is just too cool to explain.

That night, still exhausted from zero hours of sleep, I played piccolo with the boys at the apartment while they pregamed to go out, then went straight for an Advil PM and bed once they left.

A full night of comatose sleep was all I needed and I woke up early the next day to do some solo exploring of Prague before catching my flight. With my eyes glued to Google Maps, I attempted to go see the Prague Castle, but found it closed when I got there. So, back to the wall I went.

This time, I found a couple with a box full of spray paint and asked them if I could use some to add my own words among the thousands. Spray paint in hand, I realized I didn’t know exactly what to write. What word, phrase or picture could possibly be important enough to be painted on next to Lennon’s face and words like “Pray for Orlando?” It took me only a second before using the yellow spray to add Jenna’s initials, JAF and “Beauty from Pain” to leave my mark.

I’ve spent a lot of this trip wishing Jenna was alive to join me in these amazing adventures, so permanently leaving a piece of her on that wall only made sense. The second phrase stems from a song Jenna introduced me to 5 years ago. I can’t even remember off the top of my head who the artist is or what the rest of the lyrics are anymore, but those 3 words have been a sort of mantra for me over the years. On the wall they went.

After a few sentimental moments, I wandered around the city, talking with the locals and taking pictures of the beautiful, gothic architecture. I then treated myself to a huge breakfast before spending a solid hour trying to flag down a taxi. Years of using Uber must have made me soft and unassertive because every time I threw out my hand and yelled for one, I was promptly ignored.

Finally, I found a parked driver who couldn’t speed past me and took me to the airport. I continued to treat myself and ordered soup and chocolate cake while I waited to board.

I can’t honestly say that Prague stole my heart the way the other European cities have so far, but it was definitely very interesting to see. Also, if nothing else, the trip was beyond worth it when Jack, Jay, Peter and I found zorbing on the river. I didn’t know it was called sorbing until my friend Gillian texted me about it later, but what it is, is these giant, inflatable balls that a person stands in as it’s blown up around them. They’re then zipped up and pushed into the water, allowing the person inside to throw himself or herself around the ball like a caged animal.

All 4 of us doing this on the Vltava River drew in a huge audience and was insanely fun. So, thank you boys for the hilarious, crazy Prague experience, I’ll Czech you later!