Monday, September 5, 2011

Welcome to Prague: The Househunting Game

Jedna, dve, tre.

This could very well be my neighborhood.
Breathe in, breathe out, and welcome to the new and improved tales of Caitlin. Coming to you live from the kitchen table of her very own housesitting apartment? Wait, why don't you have your own apartment? 

Let me level with you: I have been looking for apartments for months. Some days in Taiwan, I would feel so optimistic about my upcoming move that I would email people about flats I knew would be available far too soon. As soon as I landed, my top priority was to get a cell phone, so I could get a leg up on all the other househunting losers who couldn't call flatmates to set up viewing appointments.

Off I went, text message to text message, running up, down and sideways across the city. 4:00 here, catch a tram, 4:45 there. The major benefit of this was I got to see the city, fast, and I got to learn the public transportation, fast. But more on this later.

Apartment shopping is a rite of passage. I've never had the privilege of being invited into people's homes, cleaner than usual, and being able to fantasize about living there, even for a short while. Apartment #1 and 2 were I could not imagine myself here, not even for a second. Apartments #3 and 4 I saw were if I really had to, I could hide myself in my room, which is the only place I could be, because there is no living room. 

My second day had too much success. I saw four places that were equally impressive. Jaw dropping old neighborhoods, large living rooms, clean bathrooms, friendly people. I had the cream of the crop of Prague apartments, and I chose one with a gorgeous view of the city.

And then it fell through. The landlord was a shady fellow that I wanted nothing to do with. After being promised a move in for two weeks, I finally said, "Thank you very much, but no freaking way."

This brings me to my red plastic chair in Podoli, a Prague district by the river, a 30 minute stroll from the center. (Although truthfully, there are like 4 centers, and it's really easier to tell someone where to meet you by specifying tram stop or metro. "I'll see you at Namesti Miru at 7:00!" "Let's drink beers at Karlovo Namesti at 22:00.")

I have transcended to the 24 hour clock.

This place has been generously gifted to me, at the most appropriate time, by a couple I met on Couchsurfing, who are enjoying themselves in Albania for two weeks. Therefore, I have time to gather my thoughts and begin again.
Just a stroll up the Vlatava

And what a place to begin again, over and over!

What is so great about Prague? A little over two weeks of opinions tells me, everything.
It's the collision of the best qualities of European cities.

Buildings as beautiful as Paris or the old quarters of Barcelona.
A river to rival the Rhine, cutting the city into two easily accessible parts.
Cobblestones like Lisbon, and small enough to walk all over the damn thing (city).
Diversity of food like London.
The best public transport I have ever seen. Trams are the bomb.

So even though the apartment game beat me down a bit, all I need to do is walk outside and see something beautiful. Watch an outdoor movie at a gorgeous park with a view of a castle. (Riegrovy Sady is the Mission Park of Prague.) Listen to live music at a beer garden. Watch a hip hop show at a man-made beach.

Welcome to Prague, people.


  1. You are so amazing Caitlin, and your experiences, both good and bad are so enriching. Believe and visualize your apartment to be. Much love, Cindy

  2. This new blog made me laugh and cry all at the same time! You have such a gift of writing....I look forward to your posts. I'm so proud of you and your quest for adventure...Love the picture of you so much! MOMMY