#TandJLeaveUSA: Prague


If you would've told Tiona and me that Prague would be our favorite city thus far, we'd be doubtful. Not only did we not know what to expect from the city, but we didn't even know any of its history. And truthfully, as our bus pulled up at the Florenc station, I was kind of glad we'd only be staying two nights. But as the hours went by, my affinity for Prague (and my curiosity) grew.

It all started with our host, Vladimir. We connected with him via the Couchsurfing app, and initially we were all nervous. We'd never seen each other in person, knew very little about each other, but trusted that he'd be a safe host and we'd be safe guests. Thank the Lord we were right.

Vladimir cooked us a delicious vegan dinner of polenta, a vegetable medley, smoked tempeh and sun-dried tomatoes, and as we dined together we exchanged pleasantries, slowly breaking the language barrier. He really broke the ice when he asked an honest question that many would be too afraid to ask two black women.

"I watch documentaries on the US, and they show a lot of violence. Why is it that it's mostly black people?"

I was happy to explain the connection between poor education, poverty, drugs, and violence within the black community and also stressed that most killing is not senseless but targeted. I also made it clear that every race--not just African Americans--commits violent acts, the media just doesn't show white people as often or in the same light. After he expressed that he wanted to visit New York, home to some of his favorite hip hop artists, but was afraid for his safety, I grew a bit disappointed in my country that the image that's pushed to the rest of the world is that black people at large are violent thugs who will attack anyone.

We shifted gears a bit and moved on to hip hop. Vladimir shared his love of Mobb Deep, Common, a few artists from Wu-Tang, Action Bronson, The Roots, and many more, and said that he likes American hip hop more than Czech hip-hop because he believes us more.

"When rappers say that the streets raised them, is that true? Did the streets really raise them?"

That hilarious and innocent question summed up the tone of our conversation: Vladimir was curious about a lot of things regarding America and black culture, and I was more than happy to enlighten him. We stayed up late as he showed us his art, shared details about life with his girlfriend (who also lives in the apartment), and asked about life with my Derrick.

Tiona and I woke up early the next morning, excited to see the beautiful architecture we learned Prague is known for. Boy, was it beautiful. We went to the city center and explored with no GPS, stumbling upon landmark after landmark. It felt like we stepped right into a painting, from the cobblestone streets to the flowers placed in pots directly atop the intricate window moldings. It was romantic--not in the sense that you should be there with your lover (although I'd love to bring Derrick back here one day), but more so the feeling that the city is there to allure you, to seduce you, to court you into wanting to stay forever. After grabbing two beers and walking to the water that offers a beautiful view of more architecture and the grand Prague castle, we hopped into paddle boats and made our way through the canal.

I still feel like getting these paddle boats was the best decision we made all trip. While on the water, we met an energetic bunch of young men from Slovakia who were celebrating a bachelor party and wanted us to join them in their celebration on the water. Jumping back and forth from our boat to theirs, we toasted over beers, shared our love of music, and laughed...a LOT. After an hour and a half, we docked our boats (and paid an extra 290ck for keeping the boat past its time...whoops), joined them for lunch at an authentic Czech restaurant, then went to what's known as a puzzle room. There, we were locked in a room for one hour and had to use clues, do math (eek), piece together puzzles, and search ancient books for anything that would help unlock the master box for the key that would let us out of the room.

My team finished in 40 minutes. Tiona's team didn't finish at all. (Humble brag)

While waiting for Tiona's group to finish, I showed the guys a few of Derrick's Crossfit videos (they'd never seen it done before, and were totally amazed) and Tiona and I caught the train home, ditching our plans to go back out for the night.

Between talks with Vladimir, our new Slovakian friends, and adventures in the city center, Tiona and I managed to turn one short weekend into an experience that has some pretty large shoes to fill. Challenge accepted!

Next stop, Vienna!

Peaks

Janna: Taking a chance with Couchsurfer and having it work out perfectly; how inexpensive Prague is (we went the whole weekend spending less than the equivalent of 50 USD. It's SO inexpensive); and our paddle boat ride-turned all day adventure. The weather was also incredible Saturday!
Tiona: Probably the most picturesque place I've ever been. Looked like something out of a storybook. Randomly renting paddle boats and meeting the people we would spend the rest of the day with! And chatting with our host about American culture and listening to Janna explain how "the streets raise people" :)

Pits

Janna: I still have my cold, and it didn't help that Vladimir has a dog, which I'm slightly allergic to. I need to blow my nose as we speak.
Tiona: We only spent a day and a half here and I feel like I could've walked around looking at buildings for days and days.


Another home-cooked meal for the books

Learning how to edit blog photos :)

Vladimir's art. Amazing collages!

My absolute favorite <3

So talented!

Time for bed. Our first Couchsurfing experience.

Another beautiful day, another beautiful city.

Scam artists >_<
The architecture is unrealllll.

Astronomical Clock
Boats and beers.
*heart eyes emoji*


Our new friends from Slovakia

It's like Saw in real life! 




Bye Vladimir! Bye Prague! 

3 comments

  1. Thank you for sharing!!! I never knew Prague had so much to offer!!!

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  2. Beautiful story. Art is the way you live your life.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Beautiful story. Art is the way you live your life.

    ReplyDelete

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