Posts

Take a Ride with Me

Image
Today I'm going to take you for a "virtual" ride on a Metro in Prague. The train system is mostly underground as it transports people around the city on three different lines - Green, Yellow, and Red - which intersect in a couple places in the downtown region. I'll take you on one of these trains - or at least describe this experience:

Train stations are all configured differently. In most cases, you walk down a set of stairs to access the underground tunnels, a cool breeze from below brushing past your face. You might see hallways that access the escalators going down to the platforms below. Other stations are blocks long with stores located  below ground to purchase groceries, clothes, etc. Of course, the ever present coffee shops are there for the early commuters.

I can't imagine that too many people shop at these stores. Everyone scurries past on the way down to the trains. I never have ventured into any of the stores to see if they are more expensive than reg…

IT'S THE SHEETS

Image
This is what our bed looked like when we arrived in our temporary apartment. It's clearly two twin beds next to each other and next to a wall. But what was with the large pillows? And what were the large "blankets" lying on top? And what were the gray things on the top of the beds?

All of these questions flew through my mind as our landlords were showing us around. During the quick tour, our landlady showed me where there were sheets up in the cupboard in case we preferred sheets. Preferred sheets? Of course, a bed has to have sheets.

After they left, I started checking out the bed. The gray material was almost the texture of terrycloth - but it was clearly not a towel. Well, it didn't seem right to sleep on that material no matter what, so I searched out the sheets. When I pulled them out, I found an off-white soft almost flannel fitted sheet. Two fitted sheets, but no flat sheets in sight. Since I couldn't possibly sleep on the gray cloth coverings, I pulled o…

DOING LAUNDRY IS ALWAYS THE SAME - OR IS IT

Image
Thankfully, we have a washing machine in our apartment. I was thrilled to hear that. I must say that it's quite tiny, though. It sits below the cabinet in our bathroom as you can see in the picture.

Because of it's size, I need to do laundry almost every day. One load consisted of our two bath towels. It seems ridiculous, but the washer was full with just the two towels.
The first time I tried to wash a load, I couldn't figure out how it worked. I mean how hard can it be to use a wash machine. I've been using them for more than 40 years.

On the day we moved in, the landlord tried to explain it to me in his clipped English, but I just waived him off and said I'd figure it out. When it came right down to doing it, however, it was a different matter.

The dial looked much more complicated than I'd ever seen. The strange thing to me was that the red numbers in the display window had 137 in it. I wasn't sure what that meant - temperature of the water? speed of t…

TRAINS AND TRAMS AND BUSES, OH MY!

Image
We sold our two cars before we left the states to fly to Europe. We knew that we wouldn't be owning a car again for a long time and would be using public transportation from now on. As I anticipated this change, I worried that I wouldn't be able to manage the process especially as a non-speaker of the Czech language. 
I am very happy to report that my worries were unfounded as far as transportation is concerned. I now feel confident enough, using the three main modes of public transportation, that I came home from an event last week riding on a bus and the Metro BY MYSELF. 
The Metro (or subway train) is exactly like riding on the BART train in the San Francisco area. We used to ride that when we went to visit our son in California. The Metro has three lines-green, yellow, and red that run in different areas of Prague-overlapping in places where a rider can transfer from one line to the next. While we are living in our temporary housing, we will be use the yellow line to get …

DOORKNOBS AND WINDOWS

Image
We now have been in Prague for about a week. All important things have been accomplished. We have Prague phone numbers - and are able to be online with our phones now. We've downloaded Google Translate, which is a life saver. When we're in the grocery store, we can turn on that app and our phone camera will "read" the words on the Czech labels and translate for us.


Our temporary apartment is very typical. It has a kitchen, living/dining room and one large bedroom. As usual over here, there is a bathroom with sink and shower and a separate W.C. (water closet) which contains the toilet.


Also, very typically there is no carpet at all in our apartment. It has tile flooring in the kitchen and bathroom areas and wood laminate in the remainder of the rooms.


One thing that is totally unusual for Americans in Prague (and all of Europe) is the windows. They open two directions. The handle is turned down if the window is locked shut (right window in picture). If you want lots of…

WE ARE ON OUR WAY!

Image
By the time this post is released online, we'll be flying over the ocean on our way to Prague. We stop in Dublin for a couple hours before taking off for the Czech Republic and land at 3:45 on Wednesday afternoon.

Monday we spent all day packing our bags and, as you can see, we didn't fit in six suitcases. After checking with the airline, we found out we could also take a box of books if it stayed under 50 pounds. Some of Chuck's theological books and a few of my organ books are in the box.

In the end, it was a very tight squeeze between space and weight. The only thing that I had to jettison was my large bottles of shampoo, cream rinse, and shower gel. But, as Chuck says, they have those things over there. I did manage to fill small bottles with them, so I have a couple weeks before I need to find my way to a store to purchase more.

After final weigh in, all the cases (and box) weigh between 46 and 50 pounds. I certainly hope that our luggage scale is accurate so we don&#…

APOSTILLE -- DO YOU MEAN APOSTLE?

Image
During the last couple months, we've learned more than we bargained for about a visa application so we can live in Prague. One word we learned is apostille. No, I don't mean apostle like my computer wants to spell it.

We needed an apostille, pictured on the left, from the state of Wisconsin to verify that our marriage license was a valid document in Wisconsin. The Czech Republic has that listed as one of the documents needed to complete our visa application to live in their country.

Other documentation needed from us is proof that Chuck has an employer who will continue to pay his salary, proof that we have money in our bank account to live on for a couple months if his employment ends, proof that we have medical insurance that will pay for any medical expenses incurred while in their country... The list goes on and on.

We had to write up an affidavit stating that we have no felonies or indictments against us in the past. My friend at my former law firm helped me figure out ho…