New Year, New Land: Czech Republic, Prague part1

In January I had the fortunate opportunity of visiting the Czech Republic for three weeks. The journey to this small but charming Central European country was quite exciting for me. It was my first time travelling solo outside of Canada so I was definitely feeling like the kids from those Huggies pull up commercials (~I’m a big girl now!~ ). I bought a KLM/ Delta flight from Toronto to Prague for December 31st. It only cost me $845 including taxes (with a return flight from Paris to Toronto).

My total travel time was 15 hours. Detours included the lovely airports of Minneapolis and Amsterdam before finally arriving in Prague on New Year’s afternoon. No seriously, the Minneapolis airport had iPads plastered across its lounge. I though that was pretty cool.

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Copyright Forbes Photo Source

During my stay in Prague I resided in a single person dorm room at the Czech University of Life Sciences.

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What can I say. It was small, very small. At night they turned the heating up too much and is that a cell number on the door? On the bright side, the rooms were dusted and wiped down every morning. What I didn’t appreciate though was the bathrooms. Co-ed bathrooms have just never been my thing. But I won’t complain about this communist era cell…I mean, dorm room since I only had to pay $11 per day.

While I was in Prague I had a chance to catch the last week of the traditional Christmas market at the Old Town Square where vendors sold grilled sausages, roasted chestnuts, ushankas (Russian fur caps), and hot wine.

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Here I had a chance to look at the world renown Prague Astronomical clock (though I’d never heard of it before). After every hour, you can catch a special clockwork show in which the Apostles, the Reaper, and other figures come out and make an appearance.

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After stealing some pamphlets from the Prague tourist centre, I had a quick peek at their Press Photo exhibition where I found walls covered with framed photos highlighting the most important news stories of the year including the death of former Czech President Vaclav Havel which brought the whole country to tears.

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As a self introduction to Czech cuisine I visited the Ungelt Jazz and Blues Club located not too far from the Tourist information centre in the Old Town Square.

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The place was quite small but its walls were decorated with jazz instruments and photos of musicians giving it a very intimate and low key type of charm. The prices were decent and the staff were very friendly. If you visit the club at night you can enjoy some music by live bands.

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Here I had my first Czech meal of buttery potatoes with lime, sesame coated pork cutlets and pickles which I quite enjoyed. Definitely better than any “Canadian” food I’ve eaten (no offense to all you Anglo Canadians). And of course, I always forget to take a picture of my food till I’m halfway done.

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After a wonderful day strolling down the cobble stoned streets of Old Prague, soaking in the sights and sounds of the tourist filled Christmas Market and munching down on my first Czech meal I decided to call it a day but not before I had a chance to head back to the Old Town Square (tourist central) and marvel at how much the Church of Our Lady Tyn resembles the Walt Disney castle.

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It really does doesn’t it?

Stay tuned to find out about the rest of my adventures in Prague!