A DAY IN MY LIFE // Prague, Czech Republic

Seeing as how uneventful my life has been the past few days, I thought I would share a quick glimpse of what my life as an exchange student in Prague has been life. As a heads up, it is not glamorous and exciting! I am pretty mundane when it come to the daily drag! Most mornings I take it pretty easy, seeing as the earliest I ever have university is 10am. As nice as it is some days to have a cruisy morning, I have honestly been missing waking up and starting my day with a bang. I guess that comes from spending last semester starting work at 7am and having 9am lectures, added to my inability to sleep in. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESHere is few quick snaps of my final room. After all the moving around and annoyance of the dorm, then being in a temporary room on the fifth floor of my current building, it feels so great to have a bit of permanence. I have been able to make the room feel a bit more at home, and unpack everything. And no, I didn’t choose the bed covers – that’s just what I got, and they are definitely not my style! SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESI managed to hold on to quite a few of my tourist maps from various cities I have visited on my travels. When I get back to Melbourne I would love to get a giant map of the world to put on my wall, so Chris and I can mark out all the places we have been! SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAs you can see, the kitchen is in my room. Sure, the room is a bit old and shabby (I assume the floor was white once) but it does the job! Plus, anything is better than that nightmare of a dorm!

My minimal list of achievements most mornings usually consists of skyping or Facebook messaging friends and family back in Australia (damned ten hour time difference!), studying, or going for a run around Vyšehrad (which is becoming increasingly harder due to the cold). I also sometimes clean my room, peruse skyscanner.com (many hours have been wasted on that site) or plan out things to do on an upcoming weekend getaway. I know, I warned you Iwas pretty hardcore.

I have six classes for university, and they are spread out over four buildings. Thankfully, most of them are in the city centre, while one is a 15 minute ride on the metro to an outer suburb. From my flat it is literally a two minute walk to the tram stop, which has a convenient number of trams to take me close to my city classes. If I have time I like to get off the tram a few stops early and walk through the city, heading down odd lane ways and dodging tourists on segways (there is a ridiculous amount of segway tour companies in Prague, so many that in a recent election one of the politicians was campaigning a policy to get rid of them). The below building, on Celetna street, is where most of my psychology classes are. It has some pretty grand entrance doors, that are as heavy as they look!SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESI usually spend my breaks between classes doing a bit more walking, or studying indoors if it is particularly bad weather. Sometimes I have a few jobs to do, or I will buy lunch at one of my favourite vegetarian buffet haunts. I still haven’t gotten over the fact that you can get an amazing meal here for under $10. If I went to a traditional Czech place favourited by locals I could probably get a meal for under $5, but there is only so much meat, potatoes and bread one can handle!

More often then not I will end up having coffee at a cafe frequented by my friends. The cafe is only pretty new, and one of my friends discovered  it, and after pretty much bringing us all by at some point or another, has since basically become their number one customer! SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESIt is starting to look a lot like Christmas in Prague!

My afternoons are generally pretty uneventful, and always seem to involve a trip to the supermarket. Chris and I were such masters at the weekly shop last year, but for some reason that has completely fallen off the wagon for both of us here! Even if I just need to buy one thing, I always come out of the supermarket with a bag of groceries – I can’t resist with everything being so cheap! The novelty of shopping in a different country hasn’t entirely worn off yet either. My Czech classes are also starting to pay off a bit, as I no longer have to spend five minutes on google translate when I am trying to work out what meat to buy! I pretty much always cook dinner at home, unless I meet up with some friends.

My nights tend to be uneventful – no crazy Erasmus parties for me! – involving Skype sessions (sometimes with dinner) with Chris, study and sleep. Some nights I will meet up with friends for a few beers, and on Wednesday’s I go to Amnesty International’s English Speaking Group in the city. The group is predominately made up of expats, and is pretty small. We usually write letters on current campaigns, and have a few movie screenings and talks. The group is also planning their annual fundraiser, which I am helping to coordinate. Everyone is lovely, and we often stay out for a drink after as well.

And there you have it. Glamorous and riveting, I know! My weekends away are far more eventful. Speaking of which, I am off to Copenhagen this evening to visit Chris in his home city one more time before he comes to Prague!

– Reanna.

NOTE TO SELF: BUY THERMALS // Prague, Czech Republic

Fall (or Autumn, I am not sure what they call it here!) seems to have come and gone rather quickly. One day I was admiring all the shades of yellow and orange adorning the scenery, and now there are next to no leaves left on the trees at all. At one point I thought perhaps there had been a bushfire in part of forest I saw from from a distance on account of all the black trees, only to realise that they were merely bare. And that bush fires are an Australian thing. Duh.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThis has also been accompanied by an even further drop in temperature, which is taking me awhile to get my head around. I think I am getting there though, as I now always leave the house with a scarf, beanie and gloves. The cold weather hasn’t stopped me from wanting to explore the countryside more, especially since I stumbled across this great post about various day hikes in and around Prague.

On Thursday afternoon I took a tram to the other side of the Vlatva river from my neighbourhood to check out a hike within the city itself. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was great! One minute I was walking in the city, the next I felt like I was alone in the countryside, and then when I finished I was still within the outskirts of the city. I even stumbled across a beautiful looking lake, but the swans you can see below hissed at me when I came to close. Can swans even hiss? I don’t know, but they definitely didn’t want me coming any closer than I did.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

 

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThere were plenty of playgrounds along the first part of the walk. The above hill also seemed to have some kind of lookout on the top of it. Considering it was across a creek and up a rock face, I decided to leave that one for another day.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe walk also lead me past a few run down old factories. It would be fascinating to know what they once were, and what happened to them.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESToday I embarked on another solo hike, this time on the outskirts of Prague. Given my previous two hikes have been successful with little to no planning, I thought I would be able to follow my directions (curtesy of the internet) fine. But instead I managed to miss the first part of my walk, though thankfully I rejoined the trail I intended to follow at these below statues.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThank god for obvious landmarks.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThis hike lead me from the town of Čelákovice to Lysá nad Labem, and ended up being about 10 or so kilometres. Probably a bit more with all the backtracking and hopeless wandering I did. There wasn’t as much beautiful scenery as my previous walks, but Lysá and Labem had the above old monastery and gardens to look around. I thought the monastery was just old and an attraction, but was surprised to see lights on inside and people smoking out a window – turns out it is a nursing home!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAppart from being more organised with my directions, something else I also need to take on board with my hiking now is buying thermals! I thought I would be fine with what I was wearing today, but considering  the weather didn’t get much higher than 6 degrees, I was freezing by the end of the day. Nevertheless, I am thoroughly enjoying this Czech past time!

– Reanna.

TO THE MOTHERLAND PT. 2 // London, United Kingdom

Even though we were in London for three and a half days, I feel like we barely scratched the surface of this wonderful city. Compared to many of the other cities I have visited where one can walk around the town centre in a few hours, London’s sights were sprawled all over the city. While this was a bit unfortunate in the regards that one has to spend a lot of time travelling to and from various locations, it did give the city an eclectic mix of locations. You could hope on a tube in the old town near the historic London Tower, and get off in an area with a completely different feel, such as Camden Lock.

Our Saturday began with a mission to Kings Cross Station to fulfil our tourist desires.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESI know, no shame. We didn’t feel so ridiculous doing it, as there was a line of tourists for this prop. Which, I should add, is not even in the true location of the platform. Platforms 4 and 5 – in the below photo – were the actual location of the entrance to Platform 9 and 3/4. After having a quick look around the station we also dropped into the Harry Potter gift shop to look at the over priced merchandise. They literally had every conceivable Harry Potter piece recreated (wands, the Philosophers Stone, a time-turner, etc etc).

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESChris has read about a market at Camden Lock, so we walked along a canal for a few kilometres to see what it was all about.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWe weren’t really sure what to anticipate, maybe just a few stalls and some food vendors. Turns out the entire district is one big market. There were some stalls (with amazing street art) on one side of the road, some more on the other, and an old stables that was an absolute rabbit warren of clothes, bric-a-brac, vintage goodies and food. It was amazing to walk around, and if you had the time and money you could spend an entire day there! Even out on the streets the stalls continues, though with somewhat tackier products on offer.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWe decided to treat ourselves and booked lunch at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen. We had reserved the table ahead of time as we weren’t sure how busy it would be, but it ended up being about half full, giving it a nice atmosphere. The restaurant and staff were wonderful, and the food was delicious. However, as is the way with fine dining, you don’t get a massive meal for the price tag. Proceeds from the restaurant go towards Jamie Oliver’s charity, so we felt a bit better knowing our money was going towards something worthwhile.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWe spent the afternoon wandering around London again, following another one of our self guided Harry Potter tours.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWe were so lucky with the weather, as the rain continued to hold off, and we even got a few glimpses of blue sky!

I also wanted to have a quick detour to poke our heads into the Sherlock Holmes pub (I am currently reading all the books!) to see a recreation of Mr Holmes’ study. The pub itself is also very traditional of the hundreds of other English pubs we encountered on our travels.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESOur evening eventually lead us to the London Eye. Chris had organised for us to go on a wine tasting experience, which involved trying five wines and two rotations on the wheel. The wine was delicious and we were given fantastic views of the city. However, the guide talked about the wine a lot, leaving us with little time to enjoy the views. It could have also gone for a bit longer – it was only an hour – considering the amount of wine on offer and the price.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe remainder of the night involved cheap Asian of Chinatown, bringing back memories of dumplings on Little Bourke St in Melbourne.

Sunday morning saw us head out to the Natural History Museum. Most of the museums and art galleries in London are free to enter, which would be great for a rainy day. Unfortunately for us we had decided to go on one of the busier days of the week, so we were battling children and families to get in. There was even a line for the dinosaur exhibit, much to our disappointment.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWe had planned to indulge in a traditional Sunday roast for lunch, but we struggled to find a pub that had one on offer within our budget. After a good hour of walking we gave up and went for cheap Asian, yet again. I think our next travel destination is going to have to be South-East Asia…

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESOn recommendation from a friend we headed to Brick Lane after lunch, which pretty much filled the criteria for hipster central. Vintage clothes, independent art, and street food galore. If I had had money, a suitcase, and an apartment, I would have had an absolute field day. Instead, we remained content with taking in the atmosphere.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESIt was such a wonderful weekend away. London certainly felt a bit like home to me. Not only from the language (boy, it was nice to have a break from constantly worrying about the language barrier!), but the city had so much on offer, and had a culture and vibe about it I certainly could get used to. Maybe post-graduate education or employment in the UK is on the cards? Who knows! But I would love to come back and do a road trip around the rest of the United Kingdom too!

– Reanna.

TO THE MOTHERLAND PT. 1 // London, United Kingdom

I didn’t intend to have such a long hiatus between posts, but by the time I remembered that I needed to sit down to write one I was running around packing my bag for London! SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESI caught my plan from Prague last Thursday morning, and landed in Stansted Airport. For some reason London has at least four airports that I am aware of, and three of them are about an hours travel from the city centre. Seeing as Chris and I were both flying with budget airways, we landed at these outer airports! After some navigating, buses and planning ahead we were successfully able to meet up in the city! We checked in at our AirBNB and spent the remaining daylight hours wandering around the old part of London. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWe saw St Pauls Cathedral and the London Tower (which was surrounded by poppies from Remembrance Day), before heading down to the riverside. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESTower Bridge looked spectacular at night, as did so much else of the city! The rest of our night involved cheap-ish dinner (cheap by London standards anyway), drinks in a London alleyway pub, and catching up after a month apart. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe next morning we navigated our way back into the city, despite the horrendously confusing transport network. We wandered from St Pauls to Camden Garden Market, passing so many beautiful photos that I was overwhelmed with what to take a photo of! SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESConvent Garden Market – well, they call it a market but it is full of Zara and Gucci boutiques – was our starting point for a free walking tour with Sandemans. We had been hit by rain in the morning, but thankfully it held of for the duration of the tour! SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThis alleyway is thought to have been an inspiration for JK Rowling’s Diagon Alley. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESTrafalgar Square, over run with tourists. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESOne of the main sights of the tour was of course the royal area. I am not really one for the royal family – I won’t go into my reasons here – but even I was a bit excited when we saw these majestic palaces. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAlso, squirrel! Finally a successful photo, yet the squirrels here aren’t as beautiful as the little red ones in Prague! SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESMy favourite buildings were the Houses of Parliament. Big Ben, however, isn’t even actually called Big Ben – that is merely a nickname for one of the bells inside! It is really called the Elizabeth Tower, but whatever, we are all tourists here! SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWhat’s that London? Rain, now blue skies? SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWe had wanted to go to the WB Studios to go on a Harry Potter studio tour, but we left booking tickets too late and missed out. So after lunch at an English pub – fish and chips! – we took the next best option of buying a little map for a self guided tour of Harry Potter film locations. While underwhelming, it was handy to have a walking plan around such a big and busy city! SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe tour took us through the Borough Market, which was full of delicious looking food. And free samples. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe Monument, and the added beauty of a crane. This statue was erected during the 1600s, and like many other parts of London is melded in with modern office complexes and sky scrappers. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESOne of several locations used for the outside of the Leaky Cauldron in Harry Potter! Sorry for the photo overload and lack of insightful words – I am exhausted after such a big weekend and my head is a bit all over the place as I try to readjust to reality! I will share the rest of our London adventures over the coming days. – Reanna.

INTO THE COUNTRYSIDE // Klet‘, Czech Republic

I honestly had not planned out anything I wanted to do when I went to Český Krumlov. Besides the castle and the old town, there is little else to do in Český Krumlov itself. So after a bit of googling last night, I decided a hike into the countryside might be a fun idea.

The weather was quite gloomy when I woke up, but the hostel manager assured me I should be safe from rain. The manager was even so kind as to show me the best hiking trails for my day out on the map, and looked up train times to ensure I would be back for my train home to Prague.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I skipped out on his advice to catch a bus part of the way and walked from the town centre all the way up to the top of Klet‘, the highest peak of the area. Considering all I had to guide me was the above green markers, I was pretty impressed with my efforts of making it there without getting hopelessly lost.

The forest itself was beautiful. I loved the contrast between the colourful deciduous trees in the full swing of fall and the sharp green of the evergreens. It was so peaceful, though at times I had to ignore the beauty surrounding me as I focused every drop of energy I had on persevering up the hill, because god damn it was steep.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESMy beloved green markers. Sometimes I would go 100m or so without seeing one and begin to panic, but sure enough another one would appear. On a tree, on a street sign, on a fence, on a rock…

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The hostel manager had also mentioned that there was a restaurant at the top of the hill. As I got closer I began to worry that it would probably be closed because the weather was getting colder, but to my relief it was open. I walked in expecting one other hiker to be present, but found the place packed with families; kids, dogs and all. I forgot that hiking was a weekend past time here in the Czech Republic. It turns out mountain biking is as well, as a huge group of lycra clad men arrived when I was leaving.

I intended to snap a picture of my meal, but this place was far from touristy, so I instead awkwardly sat in the corner and stuffed my face. The menu was entirely in Czech, but my knowledge of a few words (potatoes, dumplings, etc) and google translate helped me to figure out what I wanted. I also panicked at the last minute when ordering and ended up having to ask if they spoke English. Thankfully they knew enough to understand what I wanted, and within two minutes (so quick) I had my steaming plate of roasted pork, red cabbage and dumplings.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe above is the observatory tower at the top of the mountain, and the restaurant is in the building next to it. I didn’t bother going up, because as you can see in the photo below, I wouldn’t have been able to see anything!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I hadn’t really been sure how long it would take me to reach the top of the mountain, but it was quicker than I expected. So I decided to head down the other side, as per the recommendation of the hostel manager. I descended under the ricketiest old chairlift I have ever seen, before winding up in a full carpark – turns out everyone really does go hiking for the weekend! Still following my little green signs, my walk came out of the forest and into the Czech countryside. It was picture perfect to say the least.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

After even more walking (and a train, there is only so much walking one can feasibly do!), I eventually ended up back in Český Krumlov. Despite the weather impending on my views from the mountaintop, I had a really fantastic time. It is days like this where I really stop and appreciate the reality of my being here in Europe, and how lucky I am in to be here and learn so much from it.

– Reanna

THIS IS WHAT FALL FEELS LIKE // Český Krumlov, Czech Republic

After spending the past few weekends in Prague, I decided I was in desperate need to get out of the city. I still struggle some days with the lack of commitment I have in my life – no work, one volunteering gig and uni that involves minimal out of class study can sometimes get me a bit down. Determined to not let that happen this weekend, I organised a last minute little getaway to the Czech countryside. Plus, I really could use a breath of fresh air from the city life! SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESČeský Krumlov is a town about a three and a half hour train journey from Prague. Well, it did end up being a little bit longer than that, due to train works or something of the like that saw my journey change from two trains to a train, a bus, then another train. You don’t know terror until you are navigating a transport system in a foreign country. If it hadn’t been for a lovely old lady I probably would have continued sitting on an empty train when we had to change for the bus! SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESI had heard good things about Český Krumlov, and I was not disappointed. It is a beautiful little town with meandering side streets and a wonderful old castle. I arrived in the afternoon and grabbed a coffee while wandering around the old town. While there was not shortage of tourists, it was nothing compared to how many there are in Prague. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe main attraction of the town is the impressive castle looming over the river from a hillside. It looks like it was even constructed out of the natural rock of a mountain in some places. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThis river – the Vlatva – is the same that runs through Prague. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESGlass blowing – or something of the sorts – seems to be quite a traditional Czech art form. This quirky post was out the front of one such shop. Also, the below photo is to demonstrate my love of cobblestoned streets. Well, probably love-hate. They look beautiful, but after a few hours they really start to hurt one’s feet! SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESI was entering the castle complex to climb up the above tower when I noticed the below sign on the bridge… SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESBears?!? I excitedly ran from one side of the bridge to other but saw no sign of them. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe views of the town provided from the tour were spectacular. The changing leaves due to fall made the forests on the hillsides even more beautiful as they sported an assortment of colours. As I looked back over the bridge via which I had entered, I spotted the bears! However, my excitement quickly turned to sadness for the poor animals. They seemed to be less than ecstatic about their lives in the castle moat, as demonstrated by this poor creature who was standing with his face against the wall. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThese are the final flight of stairs leading up to the tower, to demonstrate how steep and narrow the journey was. And this wasn’t even the worst part. The rest of it featured handmade wooden stairs that were horribly uneven, low ceilings and rope for a handrail. I spent the entire time walking up thinking of what an impending law suit this place must be. One wrong step… SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESIt was free to walk around the outside of the castle complex and through the courtyards, which were wonderful. Most of them were painted with faux bricks and statues of – I am assuming – various religious figures. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe castle complex went on for awhile, before opening up to some impressive gardens. I was happy just wandering around here for an hour. The garden also features the below building, called the revolving theatre. I have no idea what that means! SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSeeing fall happen in a northern hemisphere country is amazing! I was trying to capture some photos to show how vivid all the colours of the season are (the below tree was such an amazing shade of yellow!) but unfortunately my camera and photography skills weren’t quite up the task. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThis is looking out over the edge of town, into the countryside. Despite the gloomy weather, it looked beautiful. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThat evening I went to the most delicious vegetarian restaurant with a couple of girls I met at the hostel. I got a tasting plate of all their various curries and what not, and it was amazing. I have most of the day today here in town, so I am not quite sure what I am going to do! The town if definitely a lot smaller than Prague, so I might see if I can go for a hike into the countryside. – Reanna.

MLUVÍM TROCHU ČESKY // Prague, Czech Republic

Today I am finally delivering on my continual promise to write up a post about the Czech language. As I mentioned a little awhile ago, I initially was only planning to learn Czech for a bit of fun. I wasn’t even planning on taking the Czech language class at university, but when everything went to hell with subject registration I decided to enrol. And I am glad I did! I have honestly been really enjoying it. Sure, during class I often feel overwhelmed with the content and crazy linguistic concepts (conjugating whaaaaat?), but after a bit of study it usually comes together. I have even somehow managed full marks on both our mini tests so far! Maybe there is hope for me becoming a polyglot after all!SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

My only experience with the Czech language prior to coming to Prague was through a friend of a family member who I had met with once, and a language computer program I bought and subsequently failed to fully utilise in the months leading up to leaving for Europe. It is not an overly widely spoken language – it is only spoken within the Czech Republic. So it’s fair to say I had no idea what was going on during my first weeks in Prague! I haven’t really be exposed to enough foreign languages to compare it to anything, but think lots of Z’s.

Pronunciation is quite difficult for me. The ‘r’ in Czech is slightly rolled, like in Spanish, and I physically cannot pronounce it. And just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, the Czech’s have a unique sound found only in their language – ř. It is a combination of the rolling ‘r’ and a ‘zh’ (like the ‘s’ in ‘measure’, ‘leisure’, etc). My Czech teachers try to make us all feel better about this by saying a majority of Czech children have to go to speech therapy to learn to pronounce this sound. Yeaaaaah, no, that didn’t really help.29412365

What’s more, the Czech’s are also notorious for their lack of vowels in some words. There is a famous tongue twister to demonstrate this: ‘strč prst skrz krk’ (the č being pronounced ‘ch’), which translates as ‘stick your finger through your neck’. And no, I have not even attempted to say it!

I am very lucky that due to the vast tourist industry in Prague that most people here at least have a basic grasp of English, or at least the English necessary to serve you in a restaurant, sell you a ticket, or what have you. Whilst travelling through various countries before settling in Prague I used simply ask people if they spoke English, in English. Here, I have been trying to get myself to ask in Czech: ‘mluvíte anglicky?’ The first few times I think people had no idea what I was saying, but as my pronunciation is improving I am generally understood. My other most used phrase is equally as depressing: ‘nemluvím česky’ (‘I don’t speak Czech). I have often had the awkward experience of an elderly Czech lady making some comment to me on the tram, or someone asking for directions, and me having no idea what they are saying! bexcuppccaauequ-large

Whenever I go to the supermarket it is generally a pretty pain free experience. Customer service here is a far cry from what it is in Australia. Having worked in customer service since I was 15, I know the pain of forced smiles, over the top ‘Hi! How are you today? Nice weather isn’t it?’ and cheery goodbyes. Here, you merely get ‘dobrý den’ (good day), the price of you groceries, and ‘děkuju/na shledanou’ (thank you/goodbye). Sure, it took me awhile to get used to, but it has certainly made it easier for me when I am still learning the language!

I think that is enough Czech insights for now! Maybe I will update you all on my progress when I can actually string more than 4 words together to form a sentence! I am actually going to London in a week (sooooooo excited), so it will be a strange experience to be immersed back into an English speaking country.

– Reanna.