Ahoj (hello in Czech)! We have finally landed in Prague after a month in Chicago (I still have some photos to upload and posts to write about) and a multi-day flight that took up nearly an entire weekend. We flew from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport (ORD) to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Lisbon Humberto Delgado Airport (LIS) to our final destination, Prague Václav Havel Airport (PRG). Once we arrived at the airport, we did the usual things to get us started:
The exchange rate was 20 CZK (Czech Republic Koruna) to 1 USD instead of 24.04 CZK = 1 USD from the
crooks money exchange booths and their ATMs so, we took 1,000 CZK (41.59 USD) from a banking ATM instead which will only rip you off a little bit. We don’t have to worry about ATM fees because Charles Schwab refunds every single ATM fee regardless of where you are in the world. Amazing, right? Let me know if you’d like a referral, I can e-mail you an invite with account credit:
As my personal referral, you can get $100 when you become a Schwab client. Learn more at schwab.com/referred.
Most countries will offer a free local SIM card for 1-7 days or a discounted rate.Unfortunately, Prague does not offer free SIMs but Vodafone (the kiosk is located inside Prague’s airport in Terminal 2) offers a reasonable plan: 300 CZK (12.48 USD) for 10GB of data and 77 Free SMS, if you download the Vodafone App on your mobile device and log into your account. It took about 15 minutes for the credit to appear in my account. Back in California, we usually use between 10-12 GB of data per month total (stream music/videos & play Pokemon), so this is more than enough.
While we previously would take public transit, lugging around suitcases, backpacks and a yoga mat (damn hippies!) would be a hindrance to the other passengers once we transfer outside of the airport zone. Luckily, Uber is available in Prague and our 17.0 km (10.56 mi) trip from PRG’s Terminal 2 to Holešovice in Praha 7 came to a grand total of 369.38 CZK (15.36 USD).
To compare, my 9.65 km (6.0 mi) UberX ride in San Diego was 265.68 CZK (11.05 usd) and the driver who immediately called to ask me out was at no additional charge.Our Czech Uber driver picked us up in the equivalent of an American Town Car and spoke English very well, while we said, “Thank-you.” in horrible Czech. Saying, “dêkuji” for the first time sounded similar to saying “jacuzzi” in our American accents. In real life, it should be pronounced: DYEkooyi. At least, we have a month to practice!
If you don’t have an Uber account yet, let me give you a free ride with my promo code: UBERCHARM
Because we were delirious dummies, we forgot to grab a monthly and will now have to go to a nearby Metro Station. Oh well! I could use the 18-minute walk after sitting on a plane for a billion hours.
Once we arrived at our Airbnb, we met our hostess who gave us a wonderful tour of her apartment in the quiet zone outside of the touristic area. We’re about a 15-minute trolley ride to the infamous Wenceslas Square (Václavské náměstí) from Holešovice, which we’ll visit once this jetlag is over. There are a number of cafes, restaurants, bars, clubs, performing arts space and shops nearby that we’ve already visited and have planned on returning to in the next few weeks.
- Restaurace Hamburg – Our first meal in Prague was at a local restaurant pub with a burger or two on the menu. We got some steak with potatoes (heavenly), pasta with steak instead (not bad) and a couple of pints to make sure we slept like a food coma baby. The cigarette smoking inside and out of the restaurant welcomed us back to Europe and I hoped to not get addicted to the sweet smell of tobacco.
- Naše toustárna – I grabbed some flat whites (coffee) and what they called ciabattas (but were really focaccias) to keep us awake in this cute bakery specializing in toasts or sandwiches. Their motto is, “Bake My Day” — too freaking cute!
- Avion 58 – This is a popular airplane themed restaurant or so, I thought by the name and giant airplane door at the entrance but it’s just a popular restaurant. They didn’t have an English menu but our server translated every item on the menu and then, I used Google’s Translate App to hover over the menu and it instantly translated Czech to English! We were most impressed by the translator app.
- Phill’s Corner – Initially, tried to go to Phill’s Twenty7 but my wacky brain stopped at the corner and could no longer go around it. This sister restaurant was not a disappointment and had numerous outdoor tables to watch the trolleys and locals zoom by.
While restaurants and cafes are fine if you’re visiting for a few days, I prefer to prepare most breakfasts and dinners at home because believe it or not, restaurants can be a pain to go to every single day. And I really miss having my own kitchen, which I have not had in the past 4 years. I visited the local grocery and grabbed a few toiletries along with the usual homey staples. A few things surprised me:
- Eggs did not come in a dozen, they were sold in a pack of ten and the first carton had feathers in it, a sign of freshness!
- I had to bag my own groceries which makes me sound like I shop at Whole Foods too much, I did.
- The grocery chain brand was more expensive than the national brand.
- Garlic Potato Chips is mouth-watering and stinking, I’m sure but I don’t care.
- Four avocados cost 59.90 CZK (2.49 USD), the price of 1.5 US avocados. I may not need to come back to California, oh wait I haven’t tried their Mexican food yet!
- This small grocery had dedicated an entire half aisle to chocolate wafers. I die or I obese.
Well, I should be going to sleep since I ingested some gummy melatonin two and a half hours ago and it’s 2:45 am. So, I will say good-night and if you have any suggestions or tips to make our month in Prague even more memorable, efficient, fun, cost-effective, outrageous, etc. please let me know.
Dobrou noc! (I don’t know how to pronounce this word either.)