September 2023 Overview: AK Monthly Recap

September 2023 Monthly Recap


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After a busy summer, it was all about staying put in September. Zero travel plans, just enjoying the best of my adopted city for one of the nicest months of the year.

But despite being limited to a small geographic area, this month wasn’t about relaxing. I spent the entire month consumed with DRIVING LESSONS.

Let’s take a look at September 2023!

Kate and Charlie taking a smiling selfie in sunglasses, each holding a frozen mango margarita, with a street festival in the background.
Enjoying frozen mango margaritas at Americke Fest!

Destinations Visited

Kate standing holding a sign reading "Kate's first day of Czech Driving School. I am 39 years old. My teacher's name is Honza? Probably Honza. I want to be retired when I grow up."
I had to take a first day of school pic!

Highlights

This month was all about one thing: driving. Finally, I began the process of getting my Czech license — and learning to drive a manual vehicle (aka stick shift) for the first time ever!

While many foreign residents can exchange their licenses for a Czech license, Americans cannot — so I had to go through the whole driving school process. It involves 28 hours of driving (really, 28 45-minute sessions), starting with five on a driving simulator if you’ve never driven a manual before, and five theory classes.

I went to Autoškola Horázný, and the entire thing cost me 39,300 CZK ($1,685 USD): 34,900 CZK ($1,496 USD) for an intensive course (with double sessions, completed in 4-6 weeks rather than three months), including driving test with translator; 600 CZK ($26 USD) for the medical certificate; 700 CZK ($30 USD) for the theory test; 3000 CZK ($129) for a translator for the theory test; and I took so many practice tests I had to fork out an extra 100 CZK ($4) for an additional 100.

Driving school in English costs about double what it costs in Czech, no matter where you go.

It may seem overkill, but I’m SO glad I did this. The Czech driving system is very different from the American driving system — lots of rules about main roads vs. minor roads, when to give way, speed limits for different kinds of zones, and rules for driving amongst trams.

Now that I know what I know, driving in the Czech Republic without knowing the rules seems remarkably reckless!

I’ll have more of an update after my driving tests in October.

Kate standing in an old-fashioned library with a crenellated ceiling painted with angelic frescoes. There are old books on the stacks behind her. She wears a long magenta skirt and a black top.
How amazing is this library?

Taking a private tour of the Strahov Library. The Strahov Library in Prague is one of the most beautiful libraries I’ve ever seen — it’s straight out of Beauty and the Beast.

If you buy a regular ticket to the Strahov Library, you can only poke your head in and take photos. If you shell out for a private tour, however, you can actually stroll through the library, take lots of photos and videos, and learn a ton from your guide. They have books dating back to the ninth century!

You can book a private tour here. It’s pricey, but worth it. There’s a great brewery across from the library, too!

A wonderfully surprising evening of Romani cuisine. Do you know anything about Romani cuisine? I knew nothing. So when a Romani chef put on an evening of food of his people, my foodie friends and I jumped at the chance to try something new.

And we were BLOWN AWAY by the food. It started with a sour cabbage and mushroom soup that was bursting with dimensions of flavor. We then moved on to potato purée wrapped in intestine casing — sort of like a near-vegetarian sausage. The main course was giant rabbit and potato ravioli in cream sauce. And we finished with buttery potato gnocchi served with plums and ice cream.

On top of that, every dish was accompanied by a boozy kombucha. Overall, my friends and I agreed that it was one of the most wonderful culinary experiences we’ve had in quite some time.

Lots of food festivals and fun with friends. Prague’s warmer months are packed with food festivals, and September is no exception. One of my favorites was Americke Fest, a big street party with a ton of Latin American food and drinks! And, of course, the annual Prague hot dog eating contest at Mr. Hot Dog, along with a burčak festival at the Botanical Gardens and a Karlín street party.

Charlie and I are thrilled that a Neapolitan pizzeria has opened in our neighborhood — a new branch of San Carlo, a Prague chain we like. We tried a few new spots — Funwari for Japanese-style pancakes, Gao Den for Vietnamese fusion, Sandwich Rodeo for American classics.

And evenings at two of my favorite restaurants in Prague — Aromi because truffle season has begun and they do a FAB truffle pasta, and Kantyna for yet another butcher’s dinner (Dinner off the Bone).

Charlie and I also did a very touristy thing and took a sunset river cruise in Prague! So nice….

New furniture! I got a cabinet to hold my shoes and accessories, as my one tiny European armoire is exploding. Yes, IKEA once again (the furniture pickings are slim in the Czech Republic) but it’s NICE IKEA and I’ll switch out the knobs soon. It has doors that are glass on top and wood on the bottom.

Spending lots of time with my kittens. After so much time away this summer, it’s been SO good to be with them every single day, rubbing their furry faces and giving them lots of kisses.

A gothic church set on a big park with a fountain in the middle of the grass.

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