I made it to Prague! I took the train from Berlin to Prague yesterday afternoon. It was about a 5 hour ride through some very scenic country. I got a little teary eyed saying goodbye to Dave at the train station. Even though he’s going to come visit me in 2 weeks this will be the longest we’ve ever been apart during our 5-year relationship:( Luckily (and I guess unluckily) I’m going to be in class from 10:00am-6:00pm everyday and then working on homework and curriculum preparation in the evenings- so I probably won’t have much time to miss him!
Today the group met in the early afternoon to take an “orientation tour” of Prague and learn the basics. A lot of it was a refresher for me, but was really helpful because though I’m usually pretty good with directions Prague is such an easy city to “get lost” in! There are 22 people in the TEFL certification program and most everyone is here already (classes start tomorrow at 9:45am). I initially thought we’d all be housed together, but we’re spread about a bit. There are 7 of us here at Hotel Pivovar (which is right next to where we’ll be having class). There is another place about a 10 minute walk away that houses about 10 others and then a couple random apartments also about 10-15 minute walks away. Apparently all the places are pretty similar, but comfortable. I have my own room in a two room suite (my suitemate is a super nice girl from San Diego named Tamara). We also share a bathroom and a kitchen. There are 3 other apartments with the same layout on our floor.
It has been amazing to be able to see Prague again. We went out to Old Town Square on Saturday night and things looked pretty much the way I remember them- some additional flowers and benches around the main statue, but that was about it. We went to an Irish pub that was playing the rugby world cup and had a live band (playing mostly American songs- I heard Shipping up to Boston!). The place was filled with smoke though (well every place was filled with smoke) so all of my clothes and my hair reek. Seriously everything in my wardrobe is going to smell of smoke by the end of these 4 weeks! The other big change is that beer (and everything) is way more expensive now that it was in 2005. And with the Koruna stronger it makes it even more expensive. I guess we were in a touristy-area, so that might play a role in the price of things. But the cheapest beer we found last was Staropramen and it was 75 Korunas!!! This evening at dinner we found beer for 40 Korunas, but still a big jump from what I remember. When I was last in Prague Pilsner Urquell was the expensive beer and it was b/ 25-30 Korunas; Staropramen was only 20-23 Korunas. I’m going to have to adjust my expectations when it comes to the price of things here…
Starting tomorrow I don’t think I’ll be doing too much touristing during the week due to course work, but am hoping to get a lot in every weekend. I already had my first big plate of goulash (so delicious!) and need to make sure to sample all my other Czech favorites on the weekends! For any of my old Praha friends reading this- make sure to send me reminders of the best restaurants and places to go in the city:)
It’s off to bed now- I need to be well rested for class in the morning- but good night and na shledanou!