The reason I came to Switzerland was because of the academic travel offered through my university. Academic travel is a class built into your tuition and school calendar that connects what you learn to the actual place. No, it’s not a vacation.
My First Academic Travel
I was super lucky and got an awesome travel my first semester. I took a literature class that focused on authors from the Czech Republic specifically Prague. Now I can’t front I honestly had no clue where Prague was or the Czech Republic. I didn’t pay attention in geography, sue me. So I read a lot of spark notes..I mean Franz Kafka and other super important Czech authors.
From the moment we stepped off the bus it felt like a fairy tale book. The architecture in Prague is insane. Now let me break it down on why Prague is the most awesome city I’ve been to.
1. It’s Cheap
Yes boo, CHEAP. Which is both a pro and con. The currency exchange was good according to my handy dandy trusty app. I exchanged 300 Euro for about 4,000 Crowns. * Academic travel means flight, hotel, and group dinners are covered so this was $300 for extra spending. But it’s bad because you feel like you have monopoly money in your pockets and for once I went in the store with a money is no object attitude. Mhm, that’s right I splurged on those tic tac’s and bought about 3 souvenir shirts.
Who knew there was a large Asian population in Prague? Clearly not me. Thai massage parlors every 2 feet, all you can eat sushi, Chinese restaurants, Thai restaurants, Mexican food (y’all I had guacamole for the first time in 3 months) etc. Found a Korean food market so you know what that meant. Mhm, RAMEN! And cheap ramen at that.
Now this was by far the best part of the trip for me. Two words: Chimney cakes or One word if you wanna be fancy: Trdelnik. Basically it was Auntie Anne’s x 1,000. Think a soft pretzel roasted on an open fire drowned in sugar and cinnamon and filled with Nutella for you guessed it, $2.
Or how about that $19 all you can eat sushi buffet that took a hour to find. I actually am embarrassed to say how long I stayed in that restaurant just know it was money well spent.
The street food in Prague probably made gain 20 pounds but I have no regrets. When else am I going to get a giant hot dog drowned in Sriracha for $3?
Once I finished stuffing my face I found myself walking through the cobbled stone streets of Prague. Each building had it’s own distinct personality however each street looked the same, it was weird but amazing how uniform yet distinct each turn I took was.
Needless to say I have a thing for Gothic architecture & sunsets. Honestly a photo can’t even capture the insane amount of beauty there is in Prague. It only looks like a fairy tale book.
Now if you know me you know there’s very few things that I hate. But if you guessed cats and history, than my friend you guessed right. I honestly never payed attention in history class mainly because it was boring and white washed and because memorizing dates is not fun. Who has time for that? Not me. That’s probably why my sense of geography is terrible but I digress. While in Prague I think my class took every walking tour offered. I’m not kidding we literally had like five a day. But the cool thing about that was seeing history come alive. Now I know we have all heard of the Holocaust. But it wasn’t until I actually step foot in Terezin, a concentration camp, that I realized how brutal it was. We went to a old Jewish synagogue that is now a memorial and every wall was inscribed with the name of a person who lost their life. The day we spent at Terezin my heart felt heavy, seeing the barracks, art and even an execution site was what made me really understand what was happening during that time. We also went to a black light theatre and marionette shows that were originated in Prague and built our own puppet. That was pretty cool, sadly I left my wooden friend at my hotel on accident *oops. Also who knew Einstein was homies with Franz Kafka I sure didn’t *technically not a homie, homie but you know close enough. Did you know Mozart was super important in Prague? It was learning these things that made me realize how connected the world could be.
So in 11 days I ate my way through the cobbled stone streets of Prague. Literally saw the what’s in textbooks become real. And marveled at all of the beautiful buildings through the hustle and bustle of my favorite city. BTW getting yelled in Czech is not fun, the language alone sounds like Alien with a mix of gibberish and dab of German. But if you read this full post, Dekuji! *the only word I actually can pronounce in Czech, means thank you and sounds like Ye-kwee