I moved to Prague for many reasons however its’ rich complicated history and architecture are two of the main reasons. I first heard of Open House Praha on Facebook back in February. At this point, I’ve only attended Open House Providence in Rhode Island.
A couple of weeks prior to Open House Praha event, I was on the website to find out which buildings I’d like to see. I recall not being able to find this information for some reason. Looking around, I did see the volunteer tab and when I learned they were looking for English speaking volunteers, I quickly jumped at the chance to be one. I read a bit more then I signed up and filled out the form. When the Open House volunteer team replied, I remember feeling ecstatic to be able to experience being part of Open House Praha. You see, I’ve done many site visits or tours of hotels and venue events spaces since my career is in hotel sales. I figured my experience combined with my enthusiasm would go a long way.
Boy was I right?! Forward to the volunteer orientation held 2–3 days before the event, there were a lot of questions in my head that were more or less answered but the reality had set in and I started to question myself, would I be able to do a decent job?
The day before Open House Praha, I picked up my shirt, the catalog etc and met with our volunteer leader, Ivana. She was kind and had so much patience. Initially I was assigned the DRN building. Nothing against the DRN building but coming from the US, I wanted a castle or a historical building to research and share its history with the attendees. Low and behold, there was an architect student who preferred the more contemporary designed building. We switched, and Clam Gallas Palace was my building to show off.
I received the history note on the building which did not have that much information, I thought. So I googled to find out more info about this palace so that I have more to talk about. Google didn’t really have much historical information either and I became a little nervous but I put together the combined information so that I am ready the following morning.
On the morning of the first day of Open House Praha, I arrived early and met some of the volunteers that had various responsibilities. With very limited Czech, I was welcomed and helped prepare our reception table, display Open House Praha items for sale, etc.
When it was time to start the tour at 10am, we already had a line. I was told, the English tours would probably not start until after 12pm. However, by 11am the lines have gotten much longer so we opened the English tours for anyone interested and this helped shorten the wait.
The actual tour was so much fun! I met many different nationalities, some locals, tourists and expats. Every now and then, I’d had been asked to town my voice down as I got carried away sharing some of the amazing historical notes about the Palace. My favorite part is each time I opened the double doors to the Marble room, everyone just gasped and it was priceless.
My overall experience had been so amazing that I knew I wanted to be part of next year’s event as well.
I’ m soon to be 49 year old hotel sales professional and a mother from San Francisco, CA where I grew up. I was born in Manila, Philippines. I arrived in Prague in early February 2018. I’ve always wanted to live in Europe and very fortunate to have made it happen. I chose Prague for its intriguingly rich history and equally magnificent architecture. My current hobbies are exploring Prague well known & off the beaten path neighborhoods as well as other cities/villages in Czech Republic. Since I am in literally in the center of Europe, I also plan to continue to explore other parts of Europe.