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The Prague Blog:  Crossing Things Off of My Czech List

The first time I ever heard of Prague and the Czech Republic, I was much younger and my knowledge was beyond limited. If you had asked me to point to it on a map, I would’ve shrugged and gone back to watching “House Hunters.”

Even in undergrad,  as I heard more and more people studying abroad in this mystical city, my grasp was still vague at best.
 
Four years later, I made it here, and to be honest, I’m still not sure how.The Czech Republic, and Prague in particular, has exceeded my expectations. Everyday I’m here, I’m in awe of this beautiful area. I love it more and more everyday.
 
I don’t want to leave, but my flight takes off in a few days and they’re not great about refunds… so…
 
At the beginning of the semester, I made a Czech List (Haha, get it?…Ok, I’ll stop.) of places I wanted to visit. Museums, cities, restaurants and the like.

A huge highlight was the day I spent in Cesky Krumlov. That city legitimately looks like a fairytale. You could spend your entire day wandering down streets and alleyways, that’s more or less what I did.

And Brno! Brno is the second-largest city in the Czech Republic, and there’s just so much to see and do. I definitely didn’t get to it all in one day, but I tried my best. This trip is pretty special in my mind, because I went with the International Club where I met other students from all over Europe and we had the best time. In typical Czech fashion, we all got beer afterward.

Vyšehrad was on my list for awhile, ever since I spotted the area on a river cruise at the beginning of the semester. I adored walking through this area, it’s got such an intricate layout (not to mention the beautiful church). It’s also seldom crowded, so if you need a low-key day, give this place a visit.

If I didn’t visit Prague Castle at least once, did I really go to Prague? I probably stopped here at least five times, if not more. It’s a tourist hub for a reason; it’s gorgeous. The entire area has so much to see; St. Vitus Cathedral, St. George’s Basilica, Golden Lane, etc.

By far one of my favorite spots in all of the Czech Republic is the Strahov Monastery and surrounding Petrin park. I could live here. I’ve spent many a day wandering through the area, absolutely adoring everything I came across. There’s the Strahov Library, several amazing restaurants, Petrin Tower, and even just walking around all these sights is so calming and wonderful. The fact that it’s a 5 minute walk from where I live is just a bonus.

Now, paradise… Bohemian Paradise. The aptly named translation of Český ráj nature trail is a bit of a climb, but so, so worth it. Does anyone remember that scene in Pride and Prejudice (with Keira Knightley) where Lizzie is traveling with her aunt and uncle and is standing on that rock formation like she’s the only person on earth? I may have channelled my inner Lizzie on this hike.

The Prague Zoo has elephants and penguins. It was a good time.

You also can run into some pretty incredible people while in this city. The Globe Bookstore was hosting a book signing for Margaret freaking Atwood! My copy of The Handmaid’s Tale is now five times as precious in my eyes. Meeting her in person was delightful. There was a long line, but she still took the time to speak with each and every eager book-holder. 

If you’re wondering if I found an Impressionist exhibit because I love Impressionist paintings they way most people love their children… you’re right. I found it.

About 45 minutes away is the Karlstejn Castle where King Charles IV lived. The views alone are pretty impressive. After visiting, I was honestly inspired to run my own kingdom, any takers?

And the food. There’s a never ending supply of awesome eats. Here’s a highlight reel of my favorites.

​In summary, the Czech Republic has been so good to me. I love it here dearly, and hope to be back someday. Despite what this post might tell you, I know I’ve barely scratched the surface in terms of what Prague has to offer.

So, until I return, throwback to the first picture I took when I arrived. Beautiful then, beautiful now

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Maggie Stanton is an MBA grad with great hair and an average personality.

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