Today is our last day in Prague. This afternoon we leave for Paris! I really am horrified at how quickly our time, not just in Prague but our entire study abroad trip, has gone. Over the past couple of days we have visited some of the major tourist attractions in Prague. We walked up to the St. Virtus Cathedral which is huge. I could not even take a picture of the entire building because it wouldn't fit into my camera lens. The building looks like it could be used in a haunted Halloween movie. We also saw the John Lennon wall and the Astronomical clock. One night I went to the top of the clock to get a birds-eye view of the city all lit up. It was beautiful up there. Prague is a beautiful, very clean city. The streets are all cobblestone and very pedestrian friendly. One of my favorite things about Europe is its accessibility. You can walk everywhere and when a place is too far to walk, the metro is very clean, safe and easy to access. As we wandered around Prague we saw Thai massage shops on almost every street. Giant signs that are bright red and lime green hang in the windows and read, “Thai Massage 8 euro”. Every day I walked by the shops and thought to myself, “Wow! A message is only eight euro, I have to go.” So I spent my morning getting a massage. I should have known better. It is a “tourist trap”. The eight euro allows you to soak your feet in luke warm water while tiny fish eat the dead skin off you feet. This was not appealing to me so I paid the extra money to get a massage. After the massage, I wandered in and out of a few shops but it was so cold that I could not stand being outside and found myself sitting in a coffee shop until it was time to head to the airport.
We got to the airport and boarded our flight with no problems. Getting into Paris was not as easy. Our flight was a little rough due to the weather conditions. At some points it would be hailing or raining and at others snowing. We were delayed in the air due to the conditions of the runways. When we finally landed it was snowing heavily and even colder than in Prague. We are spoiled this winter with the balmy temperatures in Greece compared to the deep freeze back in Rindge. None of us were prepared for the snow. Lauren made a funny comment along the lines of, "Who would have thought that we would be traveling to somewhere snowy for our spring break." We are usually looking to head away from the snow and to the warm sunshine somewhere down south. My hands were numb as we walked from the airport to the metro station. We rode the metro for a few stops and got off in the eighteenth arondosment to check into our hostel. When we came out of the metro I was shocked at what I was seeing. I felt like I was in Las Vegas. There were signs lit up with blinking and flashing lights, tons of shops and restaurants and people filled the streets. I envisioned Paris as a very elegant city with fashion designers and models hard at work. I was even more surprised when I realized that the Eiffel Tower is not visible from every point in the city. The markets I noticed on our walk to the hostel are set up very similar to the markets in Greece. You have a meat market, a fruit market and then a grocery store with the staples. We are staying at the Plug Inn Hostel. It is very close to the metro which makes it convenient for us to travel around since it is so cold and snowy that we don't want to walk. After checking in we were tired and hungry so we went down the street to a restaurant called Cafe Les Nazir for a quick dinner. The menu was small but we were all able to find something that sounded good to us. After we ordered, the waiter brought us some water and bread. I was horrified when he took the bread basket off one table and put it on ours. We were served someone's leftovers! Being really hungry, I ate it anyway. I have heard stories of restaurants doing strange things to people's food but I can’t believe how open the waiter was about not giving us fresh bread. I never figured out if this is an accepted practice in Paris or if the guy figured that we would not notice. After dinner, exhaustion took over and we headed to our hostel to get some rest so we could get up early and head out to explore Paris.