On Friday night I had a chance to soak up some serious culture with a visit to the opera. The show our ISA program attended was Rusalka, a story very similar to The Little Mermaid but in Czech and with fewer seashell bikinis.
The National Theater of Prague, where the opera took place, is a very beautiful and ornately decorated building, with an interior and roof covered in more gold than anywhere I’ve been outside of the Vatican.The seats were very small and cramped, probably perfect for the midgets that must have inhabited Prague back in the 1800’s. Once we were in the theater and the doors were closed nobody was allowed in or out of the theater to make sure the audience was completely silent for the opera singers. With such strict rules on noise, I was terrified to realize my crappy $25 Vodafone had the sound turned up full volume. I was too afraid to turn it off in fear it would make a beeping noise. Even though only about five people in the world even know my new number, and I had not once received a call on this phone, I was still in fear my phone would ring and I would be thrown out of the theater by the 80-year usher standing nearby. Luckily, my phone never went off, and I was able to have an interesting cultural experience, even if the show ran about an hour longer than I would have liked.
On another note. I finalized some travel plans this week. From Thursday through Sunday I will be in Budapest with a large group of people from my program. I’m definitely excited to see the sights of Budapest and to experience a new city and country. I also have a clever pun planned for my next blog post that I can’t wait to unleash on all of you. There’s not a whole lot I know about Budapest, but I’ve heard it’s an awesome places from several reliable sources, including my sister Susan.
Also, I’ve booked a ticket to London with a smaller group from March 8-11. This is a city I’ve always wanted to see, and I’m hoping I’ll run into some British celebrities while I’m there (aka the cast of Harry Potter and maybe Susan Boyle). One thing I’m not looking forward to is London’s famously high prices, which should come as a shock after being in fairly cheap Prague for so long.
As far as my other travel plans, I plan on attending almost all of the ISA sponsored trips, such as Berlin, Vienna, and trips to several cool towns within the Czech Republic. I’d also like to see Paris, Florence, Barcelona, Istanbul, and Krakow, but we’ll see where I actually end up.
For the most part it’s been a pretty quiet week here. We (thankfully) finished up our two weeks of Czech lessons. I feel like I ended up doing alright in the class, though my knowledge of Czech is still minimal at best. Next Monday my regular classes start, and I’ll be taking Czech Film History, Kafka’s World, Communism and Religion, and Art and Architecture of Prague. Only 12 credits, so I should have plenty of time to explore Europe in my spare time.
Surprisingly, I feel like I blend in pretty well in this city. Whenever someone on the street approaches me they instantly speak to me in Czech, so it’s good that I don’t look too much like a tourist. I was nervous that my bright yellow coat straight from the 90’s (formerly owned by my sister Liz) might make me stick out like a sore thumb for pickpocketers and gypsies, but so far that hasn’t been too much of a problem.
I also am beginning to understand Prague and it’s metro system much better now, and I’m happy to say I haven’t gotten seriously lost in almost a week (key word=seriously). On the bright side, I’m sure there are much worse places to be lost in than Prague, and it’s always an adventure roaming the twisted, cobblestone covered streets of this city. Well, unless it’s dark, ten degrees, and you’re carrying an assortment of household items from IKEA. Speaking of IKEA, that place is crazy.
Well folks, that’s all for this post. Tune in next week where I’ll recap my first week of classes and my trip to Budapest.