Just a twenty-something living the dream, trying to check off the bucket list, one entry at a time
I can’t believe it, but I’m actually typing this up from an airport in Prague, Czech Republic! It’s finally here. After months of countdowns and preparations and one (almost) sleepless night of packing, I’m finally here!
My trip to Prague actually started early Thursday morning. After spending most of Wednesday and very early Thursday morning frantically throwing things in a suitcase and praying I didn’t forget anything, our bus left around noon from Penn State to Dulles Airport in D.C.
We flew out of Dulles on a 7 p.m. flight to Paris. We had a mostly uneventful flight, save for the fact that the temperature controls were off balance and our section of the plane was boiling hot. I’m used to flights always being cold, so like a savvy traveler, I was dressed in layers of a comfortable long-sleeve t-shirt, sweater and scarf. Little did I know that I would have been more comfortable in shorts and a tank top. And, it would be my luck that I ended up in the middle seat. There is simply no way to comfortably sleep on an airplane.
But, thank God for noise canceling headphones, and I was able to get some shut-eye. We landed in Charles de Gaulle around 7 a.m. Paris time, leaving me hopelessly discombobulated with the time change. Going through customs and security was one of the biggest pains in the ass I’ve ever experienced. If I had to take off my shoes and unload my laptop one more time, I thought I was going to scream. But it all worked out and we were able to find our gate. (By the way, you only get 15 minutes of free WiFi in Charles de Gaulle. In Prague airports, you get one hour).
Our flight from Paris to Prague was much less eventful. That plane actually had normal temperatures, so it was a little bit more comfortable to attempt to sleep. We landed safely in Prague and exchanged our money. Fun fact: $1 US dollar is equal to about 20 Czech Crowns. And after that, that’s when it all went south.
Apparently, AirFrance left our entire flight’s worth of luggage in Paris. So, currently, we’re sitting by baggage claim in the airport giving descriptions of our luggage to an airport official. All I can think of is how insanely glad I am that I packed an extra t-shirt and pair of underwear in my carry on bag. Luckily, there’s 4 flights from Paris to Prague tonight, so we’re hopeful that our luggage should arrive tonight.
But hey, it wouldn’t be an international trip without at least some kind of glitch? At least it’ll make for a hell of a good story later. We’re estimating our baggage should arrive around 8 p.m. tonight, just in time for a shower and then a well-deserved night’s sleep.
(Disclaimer: I’m picking up where I left off a few hours ago). After a particularly painful time attempting to get my phone set up globally (talk about a pain), we gave up and left the airport. After arriving at our hotel and checking in (sans luggage), we headed off to the American Embassy. Our hotel is right up the street. Technically, we didn’t go to the official embassy, but the American Center where we met with the press attaché and other staff members.
Following our appointment with the embassy staffers, we took explored the Charles Bridge and surrounding area. And then it was time to head to dinner, which was sorely needed. We opted for a traditional Czech restaurant and Czech cuisine, which is a lot of beef, pork, dumplings and potatoes (definitely my kind of stuff).
And, of course, beer. The Czech are famous for their beer, particularly their Pilsner, which is a lighter beer without any artificial preservatives (meaning you don’t get a hangover the next day). I’m not really a drinker back home, but hey, when in Rome, right? I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, so I’m glad to say that I officially experienced such major part of Czech culture.
Anyway, many hours later than when I first began this post, we’re back at our hotel, we have our luggage, and I’m attempting to find the energy to move off the couch in my friend’s room so I can take a shower and sleep. My classmates and I will be blogging throughout the week, so hit up www.sites.psu.edu/czech for our posts!