Posted by: LM | April 4, 2008

Public Transportation Rocks!

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Probably the thing I embraced the very most about European lifestyle during my time abroad was their method of transportation. Being a Southern California native, it’s only natural that I have a predisposition for hating to drive. I hate the traffic. I hate having to anticipate the Neanderthals that are on the freeway with me. I hate getting lost and having to find my way back to civilization. I hate the BOREDOM of it all. Moving to Prague and coming into contact with a marvelous public transportation system was a terrific. I instantaneously loved it.

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Ok, I’ll admit that it took me a few days to master the metro, but when I did we were the best of friends. I’ll never forget the first day I rode the metro. My roommates and I were returning home from our first day of work and we confidently boarded the metro with the directions from our boss and a map of the metro lines in hand. Before we knew it, we were lost. None of us panicked. The thing about being lost in Prague is… you can never really be lost. It’s so small and every thing’s so connected that you’ll find your way (or someone who speaks English well enough to TELL you your way) before you’ve had time to panic. Not only are they convenient, but you really see the Czech people at their best when they’re riding the metro (generally speaking). If an elderly person boards the metro or a tram, people get up to give them their seat without a second thought about it. Carrying a huge load of groceries? The guy in the front row will be up in a second to help you carry them in, then he’ll offer you his chair and stand instead. Mother of an infant? That seat’s yours.  A tell-tale sign of a foreigner is the guy who doesn’t get up when grandma boards the tram.

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Here’s the beauty of Prague’s metro system that I found lacking in every other major city I’ve visited: it’s easy as pie. There are only three lines for Prague’s metro: yellow, green, and red. They all connect to each other and they all let out only feet away from the major spots that everyone wants to get to. To get home you might have to take the tram after you reach your metro stop. For my flat-mates and I, the walk from our metro stop to our apartment was doable, but being the lazy Americans that we are we walked nine times out of ten.

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The last great thing about transportation in the Czech Republic (or just Europe, in general) is the train. Buy a ticket for dirt cheap and you’re on your way to anywhere you want to go. On several occasions my friends and I hopped a train to go away for the day or even the weekend. There’s tons to see outside of Prague if you’re there for a while and some GREAT campsites that we found also. Lots of people travel by train every day in Prague to come in from their homes in the suburbs, but you’ll always have a seat or, as is true in most cases, your own private car.

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If you ask me, public transportation is a thing to be envied by the American public. Not only does it solve problems of inconvenience like traffic and the expense of buying a car (and gas), but it’s environmentally friendly too!  I only wish getting around were as easy and practical around here as it is in Europe. True, when you get into the bigger cities like Paris or London or New York you find Metro/Underground/Subway lines that get somewhat confusing, but I could usually get the hang of them after a day or two of riding around. If ever I get a say, public transportation it will be for all of us here in the U.S. of A.

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Responses

  1. I love that last picture!! You look so tired 😦 lol

  2. I so agree. Public transportation is the way to go. I do enjoy driving, but these days, I have been thinking to myself how much easier public transportation was. Not only that, but it forces things to be really close. Everything here is so spread out and far away – you can’t walk even if you want to.

    I missed walking in Prague.

    And it was definitely the best shape I’ve been in in my life, after having walked there for 10 months. I can’t seem to get that back!

  3. No it doesn’t. See this by way of explanation:

    http://caughtinthemiddleman.wordpress.com/2007/05/25/planes-trains-and-automobiles-part-5/

    Nice blog though.

    LoL

  4. […] have it in you, take a walk to the castle. If not, metro/tram it up there. There’s no shame. Public transportation is […]


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