We started our third day in Prague with a walking tour of the Žižkov neighborhood with our wonderful local ambassador, Westley. We huffed it up the hill to meet everyone at Jiřího z Poděbrad and started the walk to Žižkov. (Neither of those names are necessary, but Czech words still astound me with their consonants and accents).
I have to admit, I didn’t have a high opinion of the Žižkov neighborhood as that’s where I had lived when I studied abroad and it was essentially a bunch of run down communist blocks. But I’m glad we walked around with Westley as it totally changed my opinion of the area. While parts of Žižkov are still a little seedy, it’s the up-and-coming neighborhood, home to a lot of local artists and hipsters. It’s changed a lot in the last 10 years and is actually quite nice now.
Westley took us up to Vítkov Park which is home to a gigantic national war memorial and offered a sweeping view of Prague.
Notice the people on the bottom left and those standing on the circle platform on the right for scale.
We accidentally dressed the same. Friends who twin together, stay together.
We walked back to a coffee shop where we sat around and chatted with Westley, Derar and Rachel before heading down to Wenceslaus Square to get lunch.
Now, those that knew me when I studied abroad know that I fell victim to the infamous “abroad bod’. I essentially ate mass amounts of yogurt covered raisins, drank copious amounts of heavy Czech beer, and indulged in a fourth meal most nights of a fried chicken sandwich from a street cart. Not so shockingly, I gained quite a bit of weight.
A quick little story about my weight gain…I didn’t actually know that I was packing on the lbs until the very end of study abroad. My communist dorm room only had one mirror that started at neck level so I never actually saw myself in a full-length mirror.
Ignore the gross toilet and faucet and look at the PVC-pipe mirror in the top right. That was the only bit of reflection I saw for the better part of four months.
When my clothes started to get tight, I honestly thought they were shrinking in the washer. Before my parents came to visit, this was a conversation I had with my mom:
Emily: “Mom, can you bring me a few longer tank tops that I can wear under my shirts? All my tops have shrunk in the washer.”
Mom: “Of course. But Em, do you think they actually shrunk or do you think maybe you’re filling them out more?”
Emily (in complete honesty and oblivion): “No, everything is just shrinking in these Czech washing machines.”
False. I was just getting chubby for the first time in my life. Oh, naïve-twenty-year-old-me.
About half of that weight came from these amazing fried chicken sandwiches that you’d get from the street carts in Wenceslaus Square. I loved them so much that when Mikela came to visit me in 2006, I took her straight from the airport to a street cart, not even stopping at my dorm so she could drop her stuff off.
Back to present day Prague, Mikela and I both agreed that we laugh so often about my love affair with these street cart chicken sandwiches that a trip to Prague wouldn’t be complete without one. So our lunch for the day was consumed standing on a street corner.
Can you sense my excitement??
To be honest, the fried chicken sandwich was good, but not nearly as mouthwatering as I remember. Which is probably a good thing.
We spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the side streets of the castle with Jillian, admiring the gorgeous views.