It’s weird to me that being in Prague for an uninterrupted weekend qualifies as a staycation, but somehow it does. And honestly, it was awesome. My friends were split between Paris, Budapest, and London, and I was here living it up and going on my own adventures.
Adventure 1: Swan Lake
Somehow after all my years dancing and all my time spent watching ballets, I had never actually seen Swan Lake in person until a couple weeks ago. If you’ve never seen Swan Lake, not even on video, please never tell me because I’m not sure we can still be friends. There are two ballets that virtually everyone in the English-speaking world knows, and Swan Lake is one of them. It’s an incredible production and a true classic, and if you ever get the chance I highly recommend it. The principles were incredible, but, for the sake of honesty, the ensemble needed a little bit more work. There were sloppy moments where they were out of time or just not fully completing their movements and it was pretty obvious. (Granted it may just be obvious to me because I know what it’s supposed to look like. Once you’ve done something, it’s hard to just sit back and enjoy watching someone else do it; you’re always aware of the standards and you know just how to critique.) All in all, I’d have to say it was worth it. Plus, I got to see a non-American ballet company perform in a different country, which is always a cool thing to say.
Adventure 2: The Zoo
In case you haven’t been paying attention for the past almost 21 years of my life, I really heckin love zoos. And aquariums. And pet stores. And pretty much anything that has to do with animals. (Except farms. Kindergarten field trip did me dirty.) It should be absolutely no surprise that on my weekend alone I went to the zoo – and I LOVED it. European zoos are just so much better. I saw animals that I haven’t ever seen before, shared a meaningful connection with a tiger, finally figured out why they’re called monkey bars, and saw the safari animals (minus the lions) actually all hanging out in their own little safari. The enclosures are huge, almost all of the animals seem really happy and well cared for, and the habitats are designed for the animals to live most authentic to their life in the wild. Most of the time, zoos here have their animals temporarily in order to rehabilitate them and place them back into the wild. I spent three hours walking around the zoo and I wish I could have stayed longer. I would go back in a heartbeat if I had the time. So if you’re ever in Prague, go to the zoo because there’s a 0% chance you’ll regret it (unless you hate happiness).
Adventure 3: AC Sparta Praha Football
European football is one of the most intense and exciting sports out there. On my first transatlantic adventure three years ago, senior year of high school, I attended a Manchester City game and was an instant fan. Through hail, rain, and biting cold wind the fans never lost their joy. They have to line the section for visiting fans with security, they don’t allow people to mix in, because they’re prone to fighting. But the Sparta game made Man City look like child’s play.
From the second I walked into the stadium, I was drawn to the fans in the section above and to the left of mine. They bring signs and flags and tie them in front of the advertisements on the front of the stadium tiers, they have a guy with a huge drum and another with a mega phone that lead the cheers, they have intricate cheers with certain clapping sequences that change, they light colored smoke bombs, they throw fireworks, they light random things on fire and throw them into the empty section of the stands beneath them, and they never sit down. I spent as much time watching the actual game as I did watching these fans. They were absolutely nuts and I loved it. I wish I had more time and could go to another game because honestly it was one of the most interesting experiences and so, so much fun. If you get the chance to see a Sparta game, take it. Tickets are cheap, fans are friendly (unless you root for the visiting team), and you can buy an authentic Sparta scarf for less than 15 USD (which of course I did because if you didn’t get a scarf did you even go??).
So I’d say my staycation was a success. I got a break from my friends (love y’all, but I see you 24/7), got to have some new experiences in Prague, and finally had a chance to sleep in and relax. Only 11 days till America!!