Monday, May 12, 2008

Transportation Transitions

Hi Everyone,

This morning, while out grocery shopping, I was reminded about one of the biggest changes that came about in my life due to my move from the US to the Czech Republic. That was in the area of transportation! Like most Americans, I own a vehicle (a Jeep Cherokee Sport) and was used to jumping into the Jeep and running for groceries, taking a ride on the weekends (when gas was much cheaper), running to and from school with my daughter, etc. This was my way of Life in the States--and my car did not come to Prague with me!

Before my move to the Czech Republic, my husband was worried about my coming here and not having a car to get around in. Many people who live in Prague don’t even own a car (though that is quickly changing) and rely on public transportation. I have to admit it was a big change for me. I’ve lived most of my adult life in small towns where it was necessary to have a vehicle. Some of the places where I have lived did not have any form of public transportation!

Prague has one of the best public transportation systems in Europe. There are three main ways to get about Prague using public transit, they are: Metro (subway), bus and tram. There are a couple of other ways of getting around Prague, too, and they are by walking and bicycle (though that is not very safe due to the way people drive here!). Walking is very effective—Prague is a city made for walking. But if you need to get to the other side of town in a hurry, or in more comfort, then taking the Metro, a bus or a tram are the best ways to get around.

Using public transportation was very new for me when I first got here, but it didn’t really bother me too much. It was just a matter of adapting to some new ways of getting around! Instead of using the car to get groceries, I changed to walking. I use a backpack, shopping bags that are cloth and reusable, and we bought a shopping cart (like the ones you see little old ladies using) which has a waterproof bag on it, about the size of a backpack. There are 3 small shops not too far from our flat where I do a lot of our grocery shopping. I walk to each of these places and carry the groceries home. That is a bit different, I must admit, but most of the time it isn’t a problem. The only time this is hard is when my allergies and asthma are acting up, otherwise, I’ve completely adapted to this new mode of doing the grocery shopping and other errands! And I take the bus to Prague for other things that we can’t buy in our neighborhood shops, and I carry these home—it’s really not a problem!

The public transport here is pretty safe, but you do need to watch out for pickpockets. They are everywhere in the big cities of the world. I’m always very careful in public places due to my husband’s very diligent training! I’ve not had any pickpocket bother me. However, there can be other hazards, such as drunks who get on the bus!

That happened one time when we were on our way back to our flat from the Metro on our bus. Our bus stopped at one stop, and this very unkempt man got on. It so happened that he was very drunk. He sat down in the bus, and as the bus began to go to the next stop, this drunk guy began raving about politicians. He was very loud…and mad…and he rolled his “r’s” with very heavy brogue! This guy began to upset some of the passengers—not hurting them, but talking to them—and also started making comments about the bus driver, etc! The bus driver hollered at this guy to be quiet or he would have to get off the bus. Well, the drunk guy didn’t care, he kept on ranting and raving…finally, the bus driver pulled over and made the drunk guy get off the bus! There was an almost audible sigh of relief from the passengers when this guy was put off the bus! Something of this nature happens occasionally, but I’ve not witnessed any violence. It is just a very interesting thing to experience when you’re just new to public transit!!!

One of the dangers of having a car here, in Prague, is the way people drive. They are fast, don’t follow normal rules of traffic, etc…plus, if you have a car, you will have to worry about it being stolen! This is a very big problem in the Czech Republic, especially in the major cities. Cars disappear even while people are shopping—they come back and find their cars gone! So, not having a car alleviates these kinds of problems. Plus, you don’t have to worry about trying to find and pay for parking or worry about how expensive the gas is getting!

Using the public transit system here, in Prague, really hasn’t been too hard for me to adjust to. The transit system of Metro, bus and tram are very well integrated with one another and are very dependable and safe. It is easy to navigate once you get used to it, and is a very efficient way to get around!

There are maps and ticket information available online that offer bus and Metro schedules. Here are links where you can find more information about the public transit system and fares at: and at .

That’s all for now! You all have a great day!

God bless,

Sherry :0)

© 2008 by czechoffthebeatenpath

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