Earlier on I joked that if I kept posting blogs at the same pace I wouldn’t be done until Christmas. Well, it’s a week from Christmas and I’ve still got two posts to go, so it turns out that actually happened. Anyways, as the title suggests this post will cover the last week of the program, where I was in a mad rush to finish my Prague bucket list as well as write all my final papers.
In most of my classes we had until the weekend after we finished school to finish all our finals, so I planned to write a few of my papers on the train to Amsterdam after the program ended. Looking back, that was a terrible idea, but I’ll cover more of that in the next post.
My classmate from Creighton Molly Manning had been studying abroad in Florence, so after her program ended she came to Prague for a few days for a visit. It was fun to show her around my favorite city, and there were also several tourists things I needed to that I had been putting off for a very long time (just like this blog). I wanted to go to Vysehrad, an old castle and cathedral with a beautiful lookout view over the river, and Prague Castle, which was allowing people into parts of the castle that were only open once a year. There were several clubs I wanted to go to as well, such as Chapeau Rouge and some other place I can’t remember.
The whole week was bittersweet. It was much more fun than the average week but every day, more and more people would leave for America, so it was definitely our last hoorah in Prague. One night we went clubbing in Wenceslaus Square, a place I had been probably hundreds of times that semester, yet for some reason when I was leaving the club at 4:30 am I accidentally took the wrong tram and ended up in the Prague suburbs in the opposite direction of my apartment. I had no idea where I was and it took me until 7 am to get back to my apartment. This was only one of the many times I got lost that semester, and I suppose because of times like this I developed the reputation of being terrible with directions, which I believe is only half-true. Half the time I am terrible with directions and the other half I am simply mediocre.
The first night Molly was in town we went out for pizza, which I felt bad about since she had just left Italy, but luckily we got the chance to eat plenty of Czech food while she was in town. It turns out Molly is a vegetarian, which makes dining in the Czech Republic pretty tough. Czech food is basically pork or beef with some potatoes or sauerkraut with hardly any fruits or vegetables, so clearly being a vegetarian in this country takes some serious willpower.
I had told her that the longest escalator in Europe was in Prague, at the Namesti Miru metro stop, and she was very interested in the chance of seeing this somewhat impressive site. It turns out its not actually the tallest in Europe (there’s one in Moscow that’s taller) but, I mean it’s gotta at least in the top five.
(Okay turns out it’s the longest escalator in the European Union, so I was close) Also this video is probably really boring if escalators aren’t your thing.
Some memories include finding out that the Kafka Museum is actually really lame and having one final dinner at U Trajcu, the authentic Czech pub where you can get a full meal and a liter of beer for 100 crowns, the equivalent of $5! Another memory I’ll never forget is watching the Czech Republic vs. Sweden game on a giant projection screen in Wenceslaus Square. The night was warm, the surroundings were beautiful, and I was surrounded by hundreds of rowdy and drunk Czech excited to see their country defeat some Swedes (which they did). They played “I Want to Break Free” by Queen during halftime, and now whenever I hear that song it takes me right back to that very moment in Old Town Square.
After a night of late-night clubbing at a place called Nebo, which means “Heaven” in Czech, all but five people in the group slept through the graduation ceremony the next day, myself included. I felt guilty for missing it, but at least I wasn’t the only one.
Later that day the ISA crew (Daniela, Lucie, Martin, and Tamara) surprised us with a dinner cruise in the Vltava river, and I saw Prague like I had never seen it before.
The dinner was of course Czech food and thinking of the ghoulash, dumplings, and beer is really making me want to go back to Prague, or at least go to the Bohemian Cafe. The night was still young by the time the boat ride ended, so we did a little bar hopping and ended up at a place called “The Music Club.” After dancing for hours people began leaving throughout the night. Some were going home, some were traveling around Europe, but all I knew is that I would not see these people for a very long time.
As the sun was rising I stood outside the club with some of my best friends. I’ve said many times in my blog that “It was hard to leave Madrid,” or “It was hard to leave Paris,” but this was different. I had no idea when I would see these people again, the people that I had spent four months of my life with, and the only people I knew in a foreign country far from home. The cities and places I went to were great, but they don’t mean anything if not for the people you enjoy them with. They made my time in Europe what it was more than any bars, clubs, or castles ever could. So after several difficult goodbyes, I headed back for my apartment and began packing for Amsterdam. If I only knew what was in store for me the next day, I would have never left Prague.