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Crepes, Cobblestones, and Strange Toilets

Hunter Fields ‘06, Day 2 — Monday started off as any other day, crepes for breakfast and a nice glass of wine for lunch. This morning we met our tutors at Charles University.

The University doesn't look like I expected it to look. Picture yourself taking the metro from the Northern side of Prague to a few blocks outside of the downtown. Then, see yourself walking down a street littered with pubs, pizzerias, and Bohemian crystal shops. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, there is a grayish building, perhaps limestone. My expectation was a few enormous buildings in the middle of a park. This was not the case, but I learned quickly not to judge a book by its cover once I met the people inside the building. My tutor’s name is Houza. He's a very nice man — I expect he would be a great Wabash man.

Our first day was short, but there are many things to do in Prague to occupy some time. We visited Hradcany Castle, which had too many stairs for a larger man’s liking. However, we did make it up the hill to see some of the best architecture I’ve ever seen.

From there we made our way down to St. Charles Bridge where the most spectacular views of the River Vlatava can be seen. The most intricate details of the city are the cobblestone roads and walkways. To see these beautiful streets and walkways makes you really appreciate the hard work that went in to creating this city.

For most Americans there is some sort of obstacle to overcome. For me, the toilet technology was a problem. After a long trip across the Atlantic I found myself needing to conduct some business of a private matter. So I went to the nearest “office” and conducted the business meeting. However, what perplexed me was the operation of the toilet. There isn’t a traditional flush handle, so there I was in the middle of one of the biggest business meetings of my life and I couldn’t close the deal. Fortunately, I found the appropriate procedure for closing the deal which consisted simply pulling a knob in vertical fashion. This was a small detail that Professor Phillips forgot to mention in our pre-Prague meetings. (I feel this should be classified as “need to know” and the future math majors should thank me for sharing the information.)

Until tomorrow, the trip continues…

Photos:

Top — Professor J.D. Phillips (with camera) and senior Jake Koeneman take a view of the city.

Bottom — Prague's architecture is breathtaking.