When fellow Remote Kelly came up with the term Praugust, we all jumped on it like the nerds we truly are. IT’S JUST SO GOOD.
Anyway, I had been to Prague in 2012 with Angela for a couple of days, and fell in love with the fairytale city. Aside from Cusco, this was probably the city I was most excited for at the start of Remote Year. After a too-early, too-long travel experience given the distance (you try moving 60 people to a new country), my new roomie Arestia and I met up with a couple of Remotes and headed to Letna Beer Garden. Located on a hill across the river from Old Town, the beer garden offers amazing views of the Vltava River and some of Prague’s beautiful rivers and spires. And the beer is really cheap.
Later, we wandered through Old Town, ate a klobasa (sausage with bread), enjoyed some more pivo (beer), and met up with a larger group of Remotes for a birthday party. I had the first of many experiences trying to go to M1, which was my and Angela’s favorite bar/hip-hop dance lounge back in 2012. The long line deterred us, and I ended up at home pretty early.
This is probably the best month we’ve had so far from a logistics standpoint. We’re living in several apartments in Prague 2 this month, and I love my apartment on Belgicka street. It’s modern, is well-situated, has strong WiFi and sees plenty of sunlight. The only downside: near-constant construction of the street. This doesn’t bother me too much, and I love living here.
Our workspace, K10, is unbelievable. It used to be the Danish embassy, and is basically a mansion with a huge patio and backyard. Most days, I work outside, much to the jealousy of my coworkers. It’s beautiful, the weather is beautiful, and I couldn’t be happier. Praugust!
Czeching Out the City
I couldn’t help myself.
During the week, we had some really fun experiences, ones that felt more local than not:
- Riegrovy Sady, a beer garden near us where we hung out for a bit and watched The Hangover.
- The Water Ballet, a combination of water fountains, lights, music, ballet, and The Little Mermaid (the Hans Christian Andersen version, though, where the ending is a little sadder than we’re used to). As I said to the group after the performance, “This was Soviet as f*ck!”
- A day hike on Saturday to Divorka Sarka, which included cool cliff-side views, a river that I would’ve swam in if it was warmer, and a super-steep descent on a dirt path we all ended up slipping in (including poor Melissa, who hurt her knees and had to get carried to the nearest hospital – she’s since almost fully recovered).
- A local pub crawl, featuring the Naked Tour Guide, Marcus. He wasn’t naked, but he did show us around great local pubs and breweries away from the tourist zone, telling us stories of defenestration (throwing people out of windows, which they like to do here), Prince Lobkowitz (the family escaped to the US during WWII, but was returned their property after de-nationalization in the Czech Republic), and Jewish life in Prague (more on this later)
Since Córdoba, a key priority for our group has been leaving a positive impact on our communities. Here’s a look at what we were able to accomplish in our first five months:
This month, I was on the Tiger Team for Positive Impact, meaning I would help organize our service activity. The first thing we did (which I can take no credit for) was help an incredible NGO that has designed a new system for teaching kids in central Africa to read. We heard from the CEO – a 23-year-old – at a breakfast, and helped his team out by cutting letters that local teachers would use that year.
I also looked into a bunch of opportunities for us to work with different organizations, which proved to be challenging. There seems to be more structure in place, which is great for long-term volunteers, but hard to get around for a one-day event. There also doesn’t seem to be a desperate need (that I could find, what with my limited non-existent Czech) for volunteers within the city, adding a challenge to my task of Tiger Teaming. More on this later.
Our Welcome Party at Visehrady castle, featured sunset views of the city, fire dancers (I’m not kidding), and of course, Pilsners and klobasas. After, we went to Nebe, a fun club that we took over, and the first appearances of “Prague Marina.” She’s really into dancing and having a great time, and there’s just something about Prague that brings her out.
We spent Friday night at Lucerna, a nightclub that hosts a weekly 80’s & 90’s dance party featuring music videos. Abba was playing when we walked in, so I knew it would be a good night. We danced around to Michael Jackson, Ace of Base and The Backstreet Boys. What could be better?
We also did end up making it to M1, albeit on a Sunday. It was just like I remembered: small, empty before midnight, and with great hip-hop tunes. It filled up, we had our fill dancing, and got an amazing burrito from across the street before heading home relatively early. I was in my happy place.
So far, Prague is even better than I remembered. The whole city is gorgeous, with no detail spared on architecture. It’s also incredibly livable. We live near the metro and tram, walking distance to Old Town and our workspace, and surrounded by supermarkets, parks, etc. I’m loving it!