Last night was the first time in too many hours that most of our group was able to sleep and today was our first official day in Prague. We woke up early, well, the ones who didn’t sleep their alarms, to a breakfast buffet with everything from classic toast and sausage to an assortment of thinly sliced meats and cheeses and even a salad, and espresso machine to top it off, not a Kellogg’s box or tray of “just add water” instant scrambled eggs in sight. From there we trekked Prague castle, enjoying a brief respite on the tram before beginning our journey up a seemingly endless mountain of stairs. Reaching the castle, though, was well worth the exertion. It was like being transported through time in an exploration that took hours but felt like minutes. We made wishes on whatever coins we could dig up at the ancient fountain; we explored Golden Lane, the old haunt of Franz Kafka, an influential poet, and home to most alchemists of the day; and we took in the majesty of the ancient artistry of St. George’s gorgeous Basilica and the dazzling beauty of the stained glass windows at St. Vitus’ Cathedral. Being surrounded by so much art and history and such a spectacular view, I was unable to resist taking as many pictures as possible, until I really had taken as many pictures as I possibly could and ran out of space on my phone. Luckily by then we had finished our tour, but I’ll have a lot work to do tonight deleting photos to make room for the excitement of tomorrow.
Many of our most exciting moments, though, happened outside the castle gates, most notably, the tsunami we stumbled into on our way to the high street. It wasn’t actually a tsunami, of course, but it certainly felt like one and got us just as drenched with any attempts at staying dry merely resulting in more layers of soaking wet clothing. Then, because our luck was just going that way, on our way back to the hotel, Kayla got caught on a Segway and slipped into a deeper than expected puddle and our tram abruptly and for hitherto unknown reasons just stopped working. It wasn’t the most glamorous part of the trip so far, but no one can say it wasn’t exciting, and, like Mrs. Tallman told us, now we really know what it’s like to live in Prague.
We’re learning more and more about what it’s like to live in Prague everyday: learning key phrases in Czech, attempting to immerse ourselves in the culture, and memorizing the layout of the city, one tram ride ride at a time. One of most interesting traditions I was confronted with was volume. I the U.S. we are loud, obnoxiously and traditionally, but in the Czech Republic, the opposite is true, with very quiet, soft spoken casual conversation leading the country. Today was very busy with lots of ups and downs that make it hard to call any one part of the day my particular most and least favorites. It’s all a part of the experience.