The first international city I fell in love with was Prague, Czech Republic. I was privileged to stay there with some of my American friends. They were on a work visa, one as an English school teacher and the other as a liaison for an American company with a need for an English speaker.
My friends taught me how to use the mass transit system and navigate the city, where to find the best information, and the best way to approach the people of Czech. Because my friends took the time to provide these pointers, I did not need to rent a car, which helped me save a lot of money. I also became aware of the culture of Czech, while understanding their dos and don’ts. Everything I learned while I stayed with my friends was awesome and proved to be helpful once I got out on my journey.
My journey wasn’t without challenges. The main challenge was the language barrier. What can I say? I am a black male from the TRUE south, Mississippi. I like my tea sweet and long conversations. In Czech, I couldn’t find sweet tea nor indulge in long conversations. As a guy from the south, my first language is southern, and my second language is proper English. It appeared that my friends forgot to send me a translator.
As my journey continued, I stumbled upon a local pub called Beckett’s Irish Pub in a neighborhood we stayed in called Prague 2. I quickly learned that if you need to hear some English speaking people and you are in a foreign country, just find an Irish pub. They are in just about every city, and they are pretty helpful as well. I didn’t find sweet tea; what I did find was some amazing people.
Prague and the country of Czech mandated the learning of English a few decades ago. The majority of the citizens who are in their thirties and forties know English fluently. If you decide that Czech is your next destination, you might find while venturing out to more rural areas that the language barrier becomes more real.
With over five million residences, Prague is the home of a diverse group of people. Prague’s diversity was one of my favorite aspects of the city. A lot of the people I encountered there were from other countries, many of whom moved to Czech looking for better job opportunities. A night out in the town was never a dull moment, as the city is making a name for itself as being a focal point for culture and nightlife, with rooftop clubs and lounges. If partying on the rooftop isn’t your scene, then go below, like several meters below. During the thirteenth century, the city was raised by several meters. There are underground parties at night and tours during the day. Did I mention the ice bar by the river?
Prague isn’t just pubs, nightlife, and parties. The city is a historic place, with some amazing places to see. For instance, Prague was one of the only cities that was not destroyed during the War of the World. I enjoyed hearing the locals tell how the people stood up for themselves just as the Allied Army was approaching and defeated the Germans on their own. There are more interesting stories to hear, some of which will have the hairs on the back of your neck standing. Check out a tour and become intrigued.
If you are a hopeless romantic like myself (romance is what southern men are known for), then the Prague Castle will amaze you. Prague Castle is astounding at day and is a blazing star at night. A funny fact the locals tell about the night lighting of the Prague Castle is that the Rolling Stones donated the lights and their own light design team helped with the project. Once you get done touring the castle, take a stroll in the gardens overlooking the river and enjoy the beautiful flowers and cool breeze. Form the garden you will have a great view of Zizkov Television Tower and babies placed on it by artist David Cerny. This tower has many names. One of them is the “The Tower of the Faceless.” Check out the river and cross over to see the tower. Another suggestion while you are in Prague is to see the iconic Charles Bridge and take a second to rub on one of the many bronze statues for good luck and safe travels.