When I went to Prague a summer ago I couldn’t believe I was going. I had a 9 hour layover at the Heathrow airport so a classmate and I stayed at the Yotel which I loved. I was studying abroad with my department at a small hostel.
Since this is my 100th post I will begin, since I’ll be on winter break soon, going through my journal and photos from the trip and incorportaing it into my blog. Hopefully it will be done by the time I return to Europe once more in the spring. This time actually leaving the Heathrow airport and exploring London itself.
For me Prague was very relaxing and stunningly beautiful. It was definably a dog city, they were everywhere. One day after going to a performance we heard someone call out and we saw their dog cross the street and they called out again and the dog stopped while the light was red, then they called out again and the dog crossed the street. The dogs are so well trained. They weren’t even always on leashes like the one that crossed the street on command.
On one of our first days there our teacher gave us a walking tour and we stopped to watch some construction on the cobblestone. The roads are cobblestone and so are the sidewalks. People were putting each piece in, carefully by hand. Different areas have different patterns to their sidewalks. Cars will pull up onto the sidewalks and people walk in the middle of the street. I learned that the lights for crosswalks are followed by a clicking sound.Unlike Chicago where I rarely carry cash, in Prague I rarely paid with a card, especially since a lot of places didn’t take cards, and usually would go to an ATM to get Koruna (Crown). Graffitti is everywhere, but it can be ridiculoulsy gorgeous.
I will start with the hostel we stayed at. We stayed at Hostel Mikoláše Alše, 2 Na Vysinach, Prague 7. Prague is broken up into districts. Hostel Mikoláše is located between two big parks. Letna and Stromovka. We were also nearby tons of transportation, restaurants, bars, a stadium and a castle. We were right off the Sparta tram stop which was amazing until they stopped using the stop due to construction.
I stayed in room 101. The hostel was set up so our unit had two bedrooms with two people in each. A small hallway that led to the water closet and another room a shower in it. In our unit alone we had five sinks. There was one in each bedroom, one in the water closet, and one in the shower room, and one in the small hallway that was our kitchen. Our kitchen included a small fridge in the middle of the floor and some cooking implements and a stove.The room my roommate and I shared had two beds, a bookshelf (that we filled with all of the books we had to bring for class), a wardrobe, a sink, a table with chairs and two bed stands with a lamp.We had a window that opened we left open a lot and looked across the street. During part of the summer while I’d be doing homework in our room little white tuffs, from the plants would float in or we could watch kids and people going to school in little rows of two, or I could here my classmates coming back from the bars. There wasn’t any smoking in the individual units, but classmates could smoke in the lobby or on the staircase.
There was one elevator, but it took forever so except for when we moved in or out we usually took the stairs, since we were only one floor up from the lobby. When we moved in we had a set of keys. One for our unit, another for the front door because the doors were locked after a certain time. Our unit would usually leave our windows and doors open while we were around, whether we were down the hall in one of our classmates units where they were always cooking food that smelled delicious or if we were just sitting around, but if we opened or closed a door the wind would slam the doors shut.
Breakfast was included in our hostel package. I’m unsure if any other students staying there got breakfast, because I only saw my classmates when it was breakfast time. Where we had breakfast there were three rooms, one with the food, one with seats and chairs, and one more. This was where we had class.
The hostel was enjoyable but it didn’t really keep us. The internet didn’t work well, if at all. I remembered waiting for Google to load and waiting longer than I use to with dial up, at least a good five minutes later and Google still hadn’t loaded. To do laundry you had to go down to the window where you checked in, checked out, or asked for help and give them about five or ten Koruna (Crowns). They would give a key and then we’d go to the basement unlock the laundry room which had two washers. We’d do our laundry, but we had to lock up after we’d put it in, return the key and come back get the key again and retrieve our laundry. We didn’t bother with the dryer because it didn’t work and had to get creative about hanging up our clothes. If we forgot to return the key or took too long the person who gave us the key would hunt us down. So between laundry and internet we had to find alternative ways of dealing. With the internet we would lug our computers to some place with free wifi.
The hostel itself is usually used for students, specificaly students of the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague. I rarely saw other students outside of my classmates. But I liked our location even if I didn’t particularly like our hostel. For the longest time I couldn’t figure out how to remember where it was because coming back on the tram I would get confused as to which stop to get off at. There were two really close together and it took awhile to remember to get off at Sparta. So I remembered where to get off because the Sparta stop stops right outside of a shop called Erotic City with a bright yellow sign and behind it is a beautiful clock tower.