I’m spending the month of July in Prague, Czech Republic studying abroad. My goal is to write one of these a week for the month that I’m here, but if you want a better day-to-day look at our time in Prague, check out Claire’s blog. She’s way better about keeping up with blogging than I am.
If you just want to see all the pretty pictures I take on my trip, check out my Prague Flickr set.
Yesterday marked the halfway point in my adventure in Prague. It sounds cliché, but I honestly can’t believe our trip is halfway over. The past two weeks have absolutely flown by.
On Monday we headed to Plzeň, Czech Republic to do some sightseeing and visit the Pilsner Urquell Brewery. After a minor fiasco in which our 20+ person group accidentally stumbled into an ongoing funeral service while trying to tour the church in the main Plzeň square, we climbed to the top of the Plzeň tower for an awesome view of the city.
Next up was a short tour of the massive 14th century tunnel system that runs under the city. The tunnels were used as a place to store goods and assisted in fortifying the city for hundreds of years. Today, the tunnels have been converted into a sort of underground medieval museum. There were a number of very, very old artifacts from on display.
Our last stop was a tour of the massive Pilsner Urquell Brewery. Pilsner Urquell was first brewed in Plzeň (hence the name) in 1842, and it was the first pilsner beer ever brewed. Pilsner has served as the foundation of just about every beer you’ve ever had since (around 90% of beer in the world is pilsner based). Pilsner Urquell is also by far the most popular beer in the Czech Republic. The tour was quite cool. Even though some of the process is automated by machines today, much of it remains almost exactly the same as it was in the 19th century. At the end of the tour we even got a sample of pure, fresh brewed Pilsner Urquell, straight out of the wooden barrels, before it was pasteurized and bottled.
BOHEMIA JAZZ FEST
On Wednesday evening, Mike, Riley and I headed to Prague’s Old Town Square for the Bohemia Jazz Fest (and some amazing skewered chicken). My knowledge of jazz music pretty much only goes as far as ‘that stuff that plays in the background at Starbucks’, but I was genuinely surprised at how cool it was. We caught the last band of the evening, Medeski, Martin and Wood. I fully expected a couple hours of elevator music, but it was just three American guys jamming out. It was definitely one of the highlights of my trip so far.
The rest of the week was dominated by our internship. We still had a ton of work to do before our campaigns and presentations were complete, so Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were spent almost entirely on working. On Friday we presented our campaigns to the client and McCann.
The internship as a whole was a great experience. It was exciting to work with a real client and a real ad agency on a real project. I loved the amount of creative freedom we had, and we got hands-on experience in a different culture that just isn’t possible in other internships. Though the time constraints made things challenging and a bit stressful, it was absolutely a project that I’m proud to say I was a part of.
With the internship out of the way, we had a lot more free time to go out and explore the city. On Saturday we visited a huge farmer’s market where I had what I can only describe as the best/fanciest/cheapest/freshest grilled cheese sandwich you can possibly imagine.
A few of us spent Sunday just wandering around the city and hitting the major sights we missed the first time around. We got an awesome view of the Old Town Square and the Prague skyline from the top of the astronomical clock.
I also may or may not have led us on a two hour walking adventure, in the wrong direction for an old Jewish cemetery, in which everybody blindly followed me because I may or may not have pretended like I knew exactly where I was going, and we may or may not have gotten very lost, and I may or may not have refused to stop and ask for directions out of pride (I’m a man!). In the end we made it to the cemetery, but we only got a quick peek over the fence because an old Jewish woman ran us off because we didn’t pay the absurd entry fee.
Afterwards we hung out on the Charles Bridge, sipping on beer and watching the street performers, and went on a paddleboat ride in the Vltava river under the bridge. We capped off Sunday with dinner at an italian restaurant with a beautiful view of the river.
Not a bad way to end an excellent week.