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Our Impressions after 10 days!

What did surprise you?

COLINE: I was amazed by Prague’s capacity to evolve so quickly, whilst keeping the same atmosphere. I was only away for three years, but every day I notice how much the city’s landscape has already changed. Yet, I still oddly feel at home. Even if Prague may be about to become the new Berlin (take a walk around Krymska, you will see why people say it is known as the hipster area), it is still a Czech city. Prague stays the city of culture (concerts, operas, …), architecture (art nouveau, cubism, …) where it will always be possible to drink a nice beer in a good old hospoda.

CRISTIAN: The atmosphere in Toulcův Dvůr. The building perfectly preserves its old fashion allure and it`s surrounded by luxuriant vegetation, while my YEE colleagues as well as members of other organisations are extremely nice, helpful and friendly. I would say that Toulcův Dvůr as a whole can literally be defined a little slice of heaven far from the noise and the chaos of the city.

What do you like/dislike in Prague?

COLINE: I like the way that old coloured buildings combine very well with brand new glass towers. I like the smell of cooking oil when I walk by a hospoda, I like the cobble stones and the tramways that will always be here to take me home at any time of the day or night.
Hard to say what I don’t like in Prague! Maybe the traffic: there are some pretty dangerous big roads, but you just need to comply with the Czech habits and always wait for the green light.

CRISTIAN: Prague is incredibly beautiful! I love to get lost in its old narrow streets and to eventually end up in some magnificent square, to drink a beer - definitely the best in the world! – while good musicians are playing some jazz, to travel by tram – the N°22 is definitely my favourite – to get a panoramic view of the city! On the other hand, as Italian I have to admit that the weather is pretty challenging - and we are just at the middle of September! The greyness spreads a decadent charm all around the city, but the cold wind is biting and it highly stimulates my laziness!

What do you like/dislike in YEE?

COLINE: I enjoyed very much the warm welcome we received from the team, and I am happy to find such a very nice atmosphere in the office. I love the
fact that we have lunch together every day. In turns, each of us cooks something for everybody, so we always eat something different and tasty. I appreciate the fact that we are free to choose whatever we would prefer to do as a volunteer (blogs, publications, ...). And finally I particularly enjoy working with Knedlík (our cat) on my knees!

CRISTIAN: As I said, I love the atmosphere in the office: everyone is so kind and ready to help in any moment! The job is interesting and you really have the feeling you`re doing something useful and enjoying at the same time! I find interesting and convenient the fact that we are cooking in turn: smart way to save money, time and to taste different food!
What I do dislike... uhm… hard to say, really nothing for now! How can there be something wrong in a little slice of heaven!?!?

What have you done during this first week, and what would you like to do next?

COLINE: The first week was training week. We discovered the working environment, the incoming projects, and the volunteering perspectives in Toulcův Dvůr. We also wrote our first articles. Last Saturday, we volunteered for the harvest festival. It was a bit tricky to communicate with Czech children and adults. Very tiring, but also very funny. We also went for some drinks in the centre (mainly in Zizkov) and I am now accustomed again to the idea of spending only 1,5 euro for a beer. I also spent some time walking in the city, because there is still so much to explore!
My plans for this week: walking. I would like to meet again with Prague, and to have a look at the natural parks which are all around (Hostivař, Divoka šarka…).

CRISTIAN: Last Saturday (September 9th) I and Coline have volunteered in Toulcův Dvůr and we gave our hand for the organization of the Harvest Festival: definitely a nice experience, a full immersion in Czech music, gastronomy and traditions! Moreover, I have written and published an article on ILVA steel plant in Italy, an environmental criticality and I wish to write more. Since I like kids I would like to volunteer at Toulcův Dvůr`s kindergarten; it would also be a good opportunity to improve my Czech!

What did you learn during your first week?

COLINE: I succeeded to cook for more than two persons, I discovered a lot about web design and creative common licenses, I learnt how to say “wheat”, “peas” and “bouquet of flowers” in Czech, I tried to memorize again the different tram stations, tram numbers and bus timetables, and I am now an expert in euro/crown conversion.

CRISTIAN: My first week may be defined as a great introduction to both YEE and the Czech culture. I`m really glad because I`m already improving my IT skills (how to use new browsers, apps and content management systems) which will turn out to be useful in the light of future tasks and duties. I`m moving my first steps into Czech gastronomy (of course beer and wine, but also soups, sweets, savoury pies…) and Czech language, even if I have the feeling that learning Czech will be a gigantic challenge!

Coline and Cristian