...someone questions how good your Czech is...
...you're shopping in Albert and ask a shop assistant for help...
...integrating can be a real struggle...
...but then you realise you can smoke in bars...
...most evenings pretty much involve the same thing...
...you get this reaction when you tell someone that you don't like beer...
...news breaks out that Riegrovy Sady has opened up for the summer...
...you ask someone in the post office "Mluvíte Anglicky?"
...a classy wine tasting weekend in Moravia ends up like...
...every tram contains at least one of these fellas...
...rohliky is on sale at Billa...
...fast food to soak up the beer consists of...
...after all that food and beer, you're like...
But at the end of the day...
Would You Dare to Visit Prague?
Around this time of year, we all hear horror stories, ghost tales, and gory legends. Most are just make believe, but in Prague, some of these are very real. Some say that Prague is the most haunted city in Europe. I have lived in Prague for the last 4 years and behind it’s incredibly beautiful exterior lies a brutal past.
Legends include the master craftsman Mr Hanuš, who installed Prague’s infamous astronomical clock in the Old Town Square (Staroměstské Náměstí) in 1490 and later had his eyes burnt out with red hot pokers by local Councillors so that he couldn’t reproduce the same work for anybody else.
A fire in 1864 caused some damage to the building but worse was to come. The whole building was burnt down in 1945 by the Nazis, taking with it the city archives. After much effort, the damage was repaired and replaced to how it is seen today. Could all this destruction have something to do with Mr Hanuš?
In the Old Town Square you can also see a memorial to Jan Hus, the 14th Century Priest who was sentenced to death on 6th July 1415 after being accused of heresy. When he refused a last offer from the pope to recant his anti Catholicism views, he was stripped, bound to a pole with rope and chains, and straw placed all the way around him right up to the neck before being burnt at the stake. His last words were:
“God is my witness that the things charged against me I never preached. In the same truth of the Gospel which I have written, taught, and preached, drawing upon the sayings and positions of the holy doctors, I am ready to die today”.
His ashes were later thrown in the River Rhine.
In 1422, Jan Želivský, a popular Hussite priest and a radical representative of the Hussite reformation, was invited to the Old Town Hall. When he arrived, the door was bolted and the executioner summoned, who then decapitated Želivský and 9 or 12 of his followers. Želivský’s followers outside saw blood begin to trickle out of the building. They forced their way in to get their leader’s head, which they then carried through Prague on a platter. Afterwards, they retaliated with equal violence.
As you walk round the Square today you will see 27 crosses embedded in the stone cobbles representing the 27 noblemen that were executed on what is called “the Day of Blood” by the protestants for their role in dethroning the Habsburg Ferdinand and naming Friedrich as King of Bohemia. As punishment, the victims were executed in order from high to low rank by means of decapitation. 12 of those heads were displayed for 10 years after on Charles Bridge. Earlier this year an art group added an extra cross to acknowledge a said 28th victim named Martin Fruvejn. It was said he committed suicide but it is more likely he was tortured to death before the executions took place.
Then of course there is the legend of Golem, a mythological creature created by a Jewish Rabbi to protect the people of Prague. As Golem became increasingly stronger, he also became destructive and instead frightened the residents of Prague. Golem could only ‘live’ when he had a clay tablet placed in his mouth, which was removed on Saturdays, the holy day.
One day people found him uprooting trees and destroying the Rabbi’s home when he was in the synagogue singing psalm number ninety-two. The Rabbi rushed to take out the tablet. This was the end of Golem – he was never re-vitalized. Afterwards the Rabbi continued with the psalm and because of the interruption Prague’s old – new Synagogue is the only place in the whole world where this psalm is sung twice.
So perhaps this is why many think Prague is so haunted? When so much death and destruction has occurred over the years in one place, it may be wise to look over your shoulder, should you dare to wander the Old Town streets alone at night in Prague….
Ever dreamt of leaving your daily grind, packing up and moving to another country? We all have, but not many of us actually realise our dreams and actually do it.
When I think back to the summer of 2010, I was in a rut. I had a job, but it was neither well paid nor fulfilling. I have always been one to seek adventure, something exciting and out of the ordinary. I am constantly learning and growing, if I am not, I quickly become bored and complacent. A short stint in Ireland 2 summers earlier excited me and opened up a new burning desire. I needed that excitement back.
So I quickly booked a flight, gave my resignation in the next day and one week later I was flying to Prague. Did I have a place to live? No. Did I have a job? No. Was I a little silly and naïve? Totally! Ok, so I don't recommend you do things my way. Do as I say, not as I do!
But luckily for you, I can give you the help and advice of how to move to Prague responsibly, including how to get a place to live and a job first!
So how can YOU make it happen?
1. Know What You Want
It is important to know exactly what you want and be as specific as possible. You can achieve anything you wish as long as you know exactly what it is. Do you want a house or a flat? How many bedrooms? Which area? What type of job would you like? Are there plenty of jobs available in this field of expertise? Do you freelance or have your own business? Would this work in Prague? Visualise exactly how you want your life to be.
2. Make a Plan
You have probably heard the old adage 'fail to prepare, prepare to fail'. I had a few tense moments over here before I sorted myself out, but thankfully I scraped by. Don't make the same mistake as me and PLAN PLAN PLAN!
Make a list of what you would need to do and how you would achieve it. Is there anyone that would be able to help you along the way? It Is important to know what you want and how you can achieve it and then maintain it.
Start looking for jobs and a place to live. You can find jobs on websites such as Expats, Prague.tv, or using recruitment agencies such as Grafton. A lot of employers are willing to do interviews over Skype and by phone so don't worry too much about the expense of flying there short notice, just explain what date you are planning to move. Some companies even offer a relocation package to help set you up here.
For a place to live I suggest looking again at Expats, Bez Realitky (not in English but you can translate using Google), Flatshare.cz as well as on some local pages on Facebook
3. Get Rid of Any Problems Standing in Your Way
Many of us fear the unknown, will I find a job, a place to live, run out of money? Fear holds us back from doing so many things. Cast these fears aside straight away or you will never go anywhere. Instead, continue to focus on where you see yourself, not on what could go wrong. A good way to do this is to write down everything you fear and how you can prevent this from happening. Once you do this you can see they may not be as scary as you thought, and a lot of the time unlikely to even happen. Jobs are fairly easy to come by, there are plenty of places to rent / buy and if you run out of money there is plenty of ways to make a bit on the side from copywriting to teaching English. See? Problems solved and fears cast aside!
4. Sell Everything!
Get rid of everything you do not need. I sold my car, half of my wardrobe and furniture. You won't need it (don't be a hoarder) and you'll have plenty of spare money in your pocket to get you by until you sort out a job and a place to live. I went over with 1 suitcase and a carry on, that's it.
Don't forget before you leave to cancel all your bills / direct debits etc. You may want to consider health insurance until you have a job that will provide it for you.
Book that flight, jump on the plane, don't look back and go!
For more information, you can check out the rest of my site, including the Prague City Guide. If you have any questions or would like help relocating, please contact me.
Already living in Prague? What advice would you give to someone thinking of taking the leap?
Posted by Lauren, Editor in Chief of Prague Uncovered. When I'm not working, I'm either travelling or roaming Prague looking for new content. Come follow my adventures by pressing any of the social media buttons on the top right corner of the page.
It's official, spring is here! Whether you have chosen to officially mark the beginning of the season by ways of the Spring Equinox on March 20th, Google's doodle on the same day, the Met Office who base their Spring on temperature measurements, or seeing the first lambs in the UK, either way, it's here. For me (and most of Prague), Spring is here when the beer garden at Riegrovy Sady opens!
This official opening means only one thing, no more cramming into stuffy, smoky and overly heated pubs then freezing to death the moment you step outside. Long summer days and balmy summer evenings are upon us. So, of course, the moment I heard of this auspicious annual event off I popped with a spring in my step straight down there for a pivo or 2. Sadly, this visit could have been under better circumstances. I was here to wish my good Manc friend Jon goodbye (miss you and Laura already!), he was leaving to go back home, albeit a temporary move.
Being the disorganised mess I am, I managed to double book, but nevertheless 2 and a half hours later I was back on a bench, pivo in hand, ready to re assume my position for the inevitable all nighter that was to occur. We left around 11, marched to Harley's and spent the rest of the night in a Captain Morgan and coke haze, life is good!
So, moving on, once Riegrovy Sady has been conquered, how do you spend your summers in Prague? Well, I have a few favourite places.
In my opinion, this is the nicest part of Prague, situated in the hills to the North West of Prague. You can get the bus 112 from Holesovice metro station on the red line. Not only is there a really nice zoo, there's a rather grand looking chateau (pictured above), botanical gardens and a vineyard with a cafe where you can sample the produce. On a nice sunny day, it is perfect and there is a great view over the river, Stromovka park and the rest of Prague. This is my little gem, where I go to chill out. You can easily spend a whole day here and I never tire of it.
Located just off Evropska going up towards the airport, it's easy to miss. Get off at bus / tram stop (bus 119, trams 20, 26) Divoka Sarka and once you enter it is hard to believe you are still in Prague. It has a lake, outdoor swimming pool, a pub and is a walkers / runners / cyclers paradise.
Přírodní park Hostivař-Záběhlice
Another great park in Prague is in Hostivar, located on the outskirts of the southeast. Get there by catching the 22 or 26 tram. Also great for walkers, runners and cyclists it also has a man made beach on the lake. You can sunbathe, swim, or just eat and get drunk courtesy of the many pop up food and drunk outlets they have. If I remember rightly, the entrance fee to the beach area is around 50kc (about 1.50 GBP), the rest of the park however is free.
As I started this article it was a bright sunny day, now I have finished it begins to rain... Jinx much? :s
Do you have any other great ideas to spend your summer days in Prague that you would like to share with us? Let me know, speak below!
Now, before all you smug couples start pitying me, don't! I am actually happy to be single at this point in time and that's the truth.
You see, I have never been that good at relationships really. Apart from the obvious fact that I am a magnet for all the worst specimens of mankind, I don't have much patience! Truth is, I have been the instigator of most of my split ups, mainly because they have pissed me off once too many times or sometimes because they've been absolute a*******s! My honesty in these situations have gone as far as threatening to forcefully remove ones most intimate part and reattach it to their forehead should they even look in the same direction as me again!
Honestly, right now I'm one idiot away from getting myself a crazy cat lady starter kit, such as the one below I found in Istanbul last year! Altogether now... aaaaawwwwwwwww!
So why do I enjoy being single on this special day? Well here are 5 good reasons to start with!
Still not convinced?! Well, my married friend went so far as to ask me if I could take her husband out this Valentines instead so she could go on a girls night out as she wanted to 'live the single life' for once! Erm no, no I won't thanks!
Anyways, what does a single girl in Prague do on Valentines day? This year it was spent in Cloud 9 Bar, in the Hilton Hotel, Prague, with a group of my nearest, dearest and fabulously single friends.
We had an amazing night, best Valentines EVER! The staff were extremely friendly, the drinks exquisite and the food phenomenal!
On the menu:
Et voila! How to spend Valentines day as a singleton in Prague, no onesie needed! Want to see pictures?! Of course you do! Please see below!
Please note that all opinions expressed in this article are my own and I have not been approached by Hilton or Cloud 9 Bar for this review. Although if they would like to have me back I would be happy to oblige!!!! :)
Hi there! Welcome to my new website and my first ever blog post for it!
Some of you may already know by now that my name is Lauren, AKA The Travelling Manc, and that, for the last 4 years I have been living in my adopted city of Prague, CZ.
I love to travel, write and take photographs so I combined the 3 and created a blog 3 years ago. Now I think it's time I put my knowledge of Prague together in one website and so now here is the fruits of my labours! I hope you very much enjoy Prague Uncovered. Please let me know should you have any comments or feedback, it is all appreciated!
Well what is my story you may ask?
Well let me tell you. It all started one summer back in 2010 back in my then current town of Rossendale, England. The recession was truly underway, I wasn't happy with the small amount of hours I could get in my job. Now don't get me wrong, Rossendale, Lancashire is a lovely place with rolling fields and is a walker's paradise. However, as a small village like area, there were little jobs available and only low wages for the lucky few.
Things had to change. Generally, I'm not the most decisive person. I can procrastinate till the cows come home. Shall I? Sharn't I? Do I? Don't I? This can go on for hours / days / weeks... OK, you get the picture.
However, on this particular summer day I'd had enough. Along with my friend we booked a flight to Prague for the following week and I went in work the next day to hand my weeks notice in. Shocked, my manager impuned my intentions and whether I had found a job or a place to live there. The answer was no to both!
So a week later we landed in Prague and began to search for a flat. Well that was easy enough! Next on the list was a job. At the time this was also quite easy. Then the rest as they say was history. After a few small bumps in the road I gradually blended in and Prague became my new home.
Am I glad I moved to Prague?
YES YES YES!
OK, anyone who knows me will be the first to say I moan all the time! However, I have had a lot of great times in this city and met some amazing people and for that I'm grateful. Yes, I have met some complete tools too, but I'm guessing every city in the world has it's undesirables!!!!! Overall I don't regret it one bit.
It has also taught me a lot about myself. It's true what they say, you have to get lost to find yourself. Everyone needs to experience living in a foreign country, a different culture, language, food and immerse themselves. It's a great life lesson.
Haven't tried it yet?
THEN DO IT, IMMEDIATELY! WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR EXACTLY?!
You need more convincing? Well over the next few months that is exactly what I will do. I will tell you exactly what it is like to live in Prague, the good, the bad and the downright ugly!
You have tried it?
Then tell me more, I'm interested! Don't be shy!
If you want to read about Prague, the Czech Republic and what it is like to live here then let me know. You can follow me on social media for all the updates to my blog. Over the coming months I will be extending my site, all aimed at bringing Prague closer to you. Or if you are thinking of taking that leap, I can help you become an expat! Please feel free to send me a message on the contact me tab if you have any questions, or follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Google+ and more! I would love to hear your feedback.
If you want to work with me, please read my About section. I can review and spread the word about your business!
I'm also working on some City Guides. Check those out too!
For now, čau!
A Manc expat, usually found mooching around Prague, iphone in hand! Writer, blogger, amateur photographer and expert moaner! Tied to a desk with no hope of escape, or have I? Follow my blog and see! New stuff coming soon so watch this space!