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My first week in Prague I got lost…and so should you!

Oh my how time flies.  I’ve been in Prague for one week to the day!  It feels like I’ve been here just a moment and a month at the same time.  I’m exhausted, excited, and humbled.  I’ve seen the Charles Bridge, Prague Castle, and so much more!  So far my favorite outing was getting lost looking for Charles Bridge after venturing out into the city on my own.  I was nervous to go out alone but I did it anyway and reaped the benefits of getting lost in a new city.  I thought I knew exactly where I was headed.  I rode the underground public transportation enough to know my way around, or so I thought.  Now, a few pictures for a frame of reference for you all.  Here is Charles Bridge:

The REAL Charles Bridge.

Apparently more than one building as a roof like this….

The Not Charles Bridge.

If you look closely at the photo below you can see the Not Charles Bridge off in the distance.

Just over the rooftops on the left is where I was headed.

After reading signs in Czech that I barely understood I realized that the sun was in the wrong part of the sky for where I thought I should be.  Fortunately I was in an area filled with tourist information stands.  A very nice Czech man drew lines on my map so that I could find my way to Charles Bridge.  “Hooray!” I thought.  “I’ll surely find it now.”  Not quite.

The streets in Prague are not on a grid and many of the streets in the tourist areas do not have street signs like I’m used to seeing in the states.  Their streets look like this.

Confusing, right?!

It just looks like big mess to me.  So, I got lost again but this time I paid attention to the sun and I looked for the tram lines that run through the city on tracks of which I was familiar.  Within a few minutes I found a land mark I knew and eventually found my way to the REAL Charles Bridge!  I spent the rest of the day with my friends and with a new sense of self accomplishment that I wouldn’t have found if I didn’t get lost. (Mental note: Pay attention to the placement of the sun in the sky.) I wonder what lessons week two will have in store for me!


Lauren Higgins is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, studying Physics with emphasis in Astronomy.  Lauren is spending the summer abroad at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

Timeflies

As the term is wrapping up and I’m getting ready for Spring Break, there hasn’t been a ton of exciting outings. My friends and I are all working on our final projects and papers, trying to get them done before we leave for a month of traveling for Easter Break. Going into Central London isn’t as exciting as it used to be because it’s becoming normal, but my friend pointed out that, that itself is exciting and she’s right. This crazy, beautiful city has become my home away from home.

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I absolutely have no idea what I’m going to do when I get home. It will be weird not being able to catch a train into Central or go to Camden whenever I want. I know I will miss seeing Big Ben and the London Eye. And, as hectic as it is living with thirty other people, I know I’ll go home and miss the constant noise.

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As hard as it was to adjust being here, I think it’ll be even harder coming back. Not even before I get back in KC, one of the two of my summer school classes will have started. I’ll have to go back to my job that I’ve been away from for five months and with the grocery store under remodel, everything will be completely different. I know it’ll be hard to adjust to at first, but a huge part of me is excited to go home and see all my friends and family. Leaving this journey will be a catch twenty-two, and part of me is ready and the other part wants to stay here forever. But, I guess that’s the norm for traveling. Overall I have been extremely blessed to have the experiences I’ve had here and I’m so thankful to everyone who has supported me along the way. Anyways, back to my Greek Lit homework it is! Until next time.

<3

To snack or not to snack?

In America we all have been taught the phrase “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” but that is not the same here in Spain. Coming here I knew that things were going to be different so I was not as surprised, but it is still different to me how it works even three weeks in and am definitely still not used to it.

In Spain almuerzo (lunch) is the most important and strong meal of the day. No if ands or buts about it. Breakfast is not that important here. Of course they eat it, but it is not as heavy like the US. For the past three weeks I’ve been here I have had tostadas (toast), café (coffee) y zumo de naranja (orange juice) every morning. It is a very LIGHT breakfast to gets us through the morning.

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*Freshly squeezed orange juice, small baguette with olive oil and tomato sauce*

The Spanish also don’t really believe in snacks. They only eat snacks if they are watching a sports match and they don’t eat the typical chips, wings, etc. Instead they eat a mixture of nuts, but it is still rare if they do. Meaning that throughout the day they do not eat any snacks to save up for the strong lunch. Personally I always snack at home with some fruits, granola bars, nuts, etc.  So by the time lunch comes around I am ready to devour some food and let me tell you it is so worth the wait.

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Albóndigas con arroz y patatas fritas                                 Huevo con ensalada                                                       Pizza con bacon y pimiento rojo

Lunch is so heavy that after it the Spaniards have siesta time. This means that they have 30-60 minute naps in the late afternoon. Most if not all stores close for about two to three hours to go home, have lunch and to end with a siesta before opening back up in the evening. It is the most AMAZING thing ever created! Naps in the middle of the day say “I,” “I!”

After a filling lunch we have a couple hours to recuperate before dinner. Which is not as heavy, but is very late. Dinner is served between 9 and 9:30 every night. It is anywhere between a heavy or light dinner depending on how our lunch was, but still very yummy!

Overall this has been some sort of culture shock, but am slowly getting used to it. The food is so delicious and healthy that I don’t mind what time we have it.

-Yenifer