I’ve been slacking, I admit it. As you can probably understand, getting back into the rhythm of school is never easy. (especially when you skip a week of classes to travel around London, U.K). But I’m back! And man, this one’s about New Year’s in Prague. I stayed in Prague from December 30th to January 2nd!
So because of the flight delays from Germany, I arrived in the Czech Republic a bit later than usual. Deciding on Prague was sort of last minute planning, so I honestly can’t complain too much. (The gorgeous German girl and I needed to part ways, and continue our own adventures.) So here I am, stuck in a Prague airport with no idea how to get to the hostel that I decided to choose. On top of that, all I have are Euros and American Dollars while the Czech Republic currency is called Czech Koruna.
After grabbing my backpack, I found an ATM and withdrew some cash. Hint: check to see conversion from your native currency to the other country’s. Because I ended up withdrawing $500 worth of Czech Koruna. Definitely, not one of my best moments. I just chose the highest amount on the ATM screen, because USD are somewhat close to EUR.
So I walked out of the airport and tried to find the nearest taxi. My friend from Germany reminded me that some parts of Europe have Uber, so I decided to try Uber first. I was a little worried about the language barrier: I could understand some words in the countries I had already visited, but the Czech language was absolutely foreign to me. But with every tourist city, English is commonly spoken.
I’m really glad that I did, because I ended up lucky with an awesome driver. We had an awesome conversation, and he explained some amazing parts of Prague that I should check out. He even went off the GPS, and took a slight detour to show me his favorite bridge. “I came here many years ago as an engineer, and I’ve never left. Prague is a city that must be explored at night, to take in all its beauty,” he stated. You know how some people just get that thoughtful ‘voice’, the one that reminisces about days in the past? That’s how my Uber driver spoke about Prague.
There’s an old story on the origin of Prague. In the Czech language, prah means threshold. In many ways, Prague stands as the threshold between Eastern Europe and Western Europe. It’s a modern city, almost like a fairy-tale. You can find old monuments that have stood for centuries, as well as newer shops recently built.
My hostel was called Sir Toby’s Hostel. Mind you, I had a couple alcoholic drinks in Frankfurt not too long ago. So I was a little tipsy, not to mention exhausted. Eventually, I trudged my way to the assigned room (on the 3rd floor) and collapsed on the bed. I even put my backpack under my head, to use as a temporary pillow. I couldn’t sleep yet though, because I wanted to shower after traveling in planes. So I started searching for my toiletry bag. *slap to the face* I forgot it in Frankfurt, because I decided to brush my teeth in the bathroom there.
Genius me decides to walk ALL the way down again (this time without my bag). After getting some information on where I could buy some toiletry essentials in the morning, I went back up the stairs. The entire time though, you could hear people partying throughout the hostel. Everyone was excited about getting to spend New Year’s in Prague, and here I was going to bed. As soon as my head hit mattress, I was out like a light *Alexa, play Sicko Mode*. I woke up late at night to a few people coming into the 6-bed room, but I fell right back asleep.
The next morning, December 31st, I rolled out of bed while everyone else was still asleep. I quickly grabbed my wallet and phone, and exited the hostel to find some small shops nearby. Unfortunately, the shop owners didn’t speak English and I’ve never tried to learn Czech. I had to rely on Google Translate to help me get whatever I needed, and it worked out (with some struggle).
When I returned, some of the people in the room had woken up. They all worked for the same company, Airbus. Four were from Australia, and one was from France. Airbus is an aeronautics company, and they hire internationally. It was really cool to speak with these guys, and they were all around my age. We bonded over brunch! Best way in my opinion. Thankfully, one of them noticed a stain on my shirt. The old-school German laundry machine (that I had to use in Dusseldorf) did a half-ass job detergent and embarrassed me. I went to the bathroom and found the detergent was caked on. Oh well, some lessons were learned.
Traveling around Prague wasn’t too difficult. It was incredibly easy to use the public transportation system. It helped when we tried to scavenge shady streets to try and find some fireworks of our own. (Eventually, we had to admit defeat and decided just to go see them.)
So we ventured out, exploring Prague together! It was great to assimilate with a friend group briefly, and spend New Year’s with some people. We drank and laughed, exploring castle together and sharing some interesting stories. One dude told me why I should visit Riga, Latvia, and how a girl kept calling him a “crazy, crazy guy” in bed. I couldn’t stop laughing at his impersonation.
The previously mentioned Uber driver had mentioned checking out Wenceslas Square and a fort called Vyšehrad. I suggested it to the new group, and they liked the idea. After making it to Wenceslas Square, we waited for the fireworks to begin. I can’t even begin to tell you how wild it was. Prague doesn’t have an official fireworks display, so its people that light their own fireworks. We’re talking little 5 year old kids holding up those firework sparklers. And we’re so close to the fireworks that they’re exploding right near us, to the point of damaging eardrums. One even sparkled and exploded right in front of me, a small piece searing my ear.
It was an amazing experience and we all hugged it out, with some beers in hand. I left the hostel on January 1st, and moved into a small AirBnB. It was a cozy one, closer to downtown Prague. I checked out the remaining parts of Prague that I wanted to see, like Vyšehrad. After walking around and breaking in my Timberlands even further, I headed back to book my next flight.
I couldn’t decide actually. There was the Australian guy’s suggestion at Riga, Latvia. But I needed to make it back into London, without exhausting my funds. France? Nah, overdone. Portugal? Beautiful weather, intense culture but too expensive to fly there. I’ve always wanted to check out Estonia, but the flight to Tallinn would’ve involved a long layover. BUT, nearby was Copenhagen.
And I decided Copenhagen would be my next trip.