24 June 2010

Czech list for Prague

There's much to be done before I depart for my upcoming adventure in Eastern Europe. The plane tickets have been bought and my visa is underway. Besides the formal travel logistics, I am trying to prepare culturally. For 9 months I will be eating, seeing, and hopefully speaking everything Czech (outside of the 10 English classes I'll be teaching each week). Although my language preparations aren't going well at this point mainly due to lack of resources, I'm really drawn to popular culture aspect and having a lot of fun with it.

You might be wondering what exactly I can do to prepare culturally. First, I did all of the cliché tourist readings- Lonely Planet, Rick Steves, and Eye Witness Top 10 Travel Guide. These books laid a great foundation of information to start my journey in Prague. I can recite verbatim all the booksmarts you might want to know about Charles Bridge, the Jewish Quarter, or the Astronomical Clock. After reading about all the must-sees, I dove right in to The Trial by Franz Kafka. I didn't completely understand the inner workings of this complicated story but it was very deep and thought provoking. The time frame in which it was written and published contributes to the reasoning behind the body and conclusion. The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera, a Franco-Czech author, also had a very interesting take on Czech life in this historical fiction novel. I highly recommend both books. 

Enough of books and more about the part of culture that will interest more people. Ever seen the show Three Sheets? Seems like not many people know of it YET (spread the word), but it's a great travel show about the different drinking customs around the world. Anyways, Three Sheets got me interested in the unique cultural beverages of the Czech Republic. By unique I mean awesome. Watch the Czech Republic episode yourself. Before you know it you'll have watched all 3 seasons. Believe me.

To get a head-start on the Czech drinking experience, Jon and I celebrated the acceptance of our internships by splurging on a 6 packs of imported Pilsner Urquell. Oh yes, it resembled the sweet taste of success, but I'm sure it will be even sweeter straight from the tap. Other Czech beverages to explore are Absinthe and Becherovka. Next on the Czech list is learning about Czech food and how to order in Czech because I will be doing a lot of that very soon.

How do you do to prepare mentally, intellectually, and physically for a big trip?

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