University of Iowa

A day in Prague

April 5th, 2018

My mom and I walking through beautiful Malá Strana

 

Prague, Czech Republic – a city full of rich history, delicious food, and breathtaking views. I’m currently beginning my third month living in Prague, and it has truly flown by. I can remember my first night here perfectly – I was jet-lagged, scared, homesick, and just entirely overwhelmed. Now, only about seven weeks later, I am adjusted, happy, and Prague feels like home.

 

I begin my mornings in Prague by waking up in my small but comfortable apartment, light streaming in through the tall windows. My neighborhood, is a little off-the-beaten-path, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I love living in a calmer area of the city, where locals walk their dogs through parks, meat and cheese shops lie around every corner, and I hear almost exclusively the Czech language. I really feel immersed in the culture. This was a bit of a shock at first – grocery shopping was a frightening ordeal where I would get scolded in Czech for not scanning my bag of apples correctly. However, I am now used to this language barrier and try my best to not seem like an ignorant American. I appreciate the discomfort I had to go through to learn how to interact with locals. It’s something I would have never experienced had I lived in the more touristy areas

 

I usually start my days when I don’t have class with a walk through Letná Park, which is around ten minutes from my apartment. Here, sprawling trees line gravel walkways, benches rest along the edges and dogs run free of leashes. This is something I was surprised by when I arrived in Prague – most dogs, even on busy city streets, are not on leashes. They are much more well behaved than American dogs and always stay by their owners! I love strolling through this vast park and gazing at the amazing views of the city it provides. From the edge of the park, you can see nearly all of Prague – the Vltava river stretching through the middle, dividing the city into two sections: Old Town and Malá Strana. The famous Charles Bridge connects the two sides and Prague Castle rests high above the city to the left in Malá Strana. Soaking in the beauty of the city is the perfect start to every day.

 

After my walk, I’ll normally find a nice brunch spot where I can eat and do school work. Luckily, Prague has many great breakfast spots, unlike other cities I have visited that only eat pastries for their first meal of the day. One of my favorites is a restaurant in my neighborhood called The Farm. The Farm is a cozy café with funky decorations – bikes hang on the walls and magazines rest on shelves lining the entire place. I normally order some sort of egg dish – eggs benedict, avocado toast with poached egg, or if I’m really hungry, I’ll splurge and also order one of their decadent treats like carrot cake or a chocolate muffin. Sitting in cafes in Prague and writing, reading, or doing homework is one of my favorite parts of living in this city. The amount of great cafes is endless.

 

Later in the day, I’ll make dinner at home and try to go take in more of the city by walking around the narrow, crowded streets of Old Town or the quaint cobblestone streets of Malá Strana. There is always more to see here, and getting lost in the city is the best way to experience it. I know my way around pretty well now, and am proud of how I almost feel like a true local. My Czech speaking needs some (a lot of) work and I still have to try more traditional Czech food, but I’m getting there. Hopefully the next two months slow down a bit, because for every tough moment, there are twenty magical ones throughout each day.

 

 

My friend and I in front of Prašná Brána


A colorful corner of Prague

Eggs Benedict at The Farm

Eggs Benedict at The Farm

Prague Castle lit up at night - view from Charles Bridge

Prague Castle lit up at night - view from Charles Bridge

Saint Vitus Cathedral

Prague’s most well-known area: Old Town Square

Prague’s most well-known area: Old Town Square

View from Letná Park in my neighborhood, Prague 7

View from Letná Park in my neighborhood 

 

claire harmeyer

Claire Harmeyer is a journalism major pursuing a certificate in writing at the University of Iowa. A native of Des Moines, IA, she is studying in Prague, Czech Republic, at the Anglo American University. 

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