It has been a while since my last lunch date with a complete stranger. One of my colleagues back in the United Stated highly recommended this young woman as my tour guide in Prague. Being that I am from Prague and my expectations tent to be very high, I didn’t know what to expect. I connected with Helen, the tour guide on Facebook. We exchanged a few emails with some very basic information and agreed to meet by Orloj, Old Town Square, right in the middle of Prague around 1pm. Helen got back in touch with me the day before our meeting and proposed meeting around 11ish as her morning had freed up. Even though I had great references about Helen and had spoken to her via Facebook, I still wasn’t sure if she would even show up. Around 11am I got a text message from her asking me what my location was. I happened to be standing right in the middle of Old Town Square. I started looking around looking for Helen. In about two minutes I saw this lovely young woman heading in my direction. I knew immediately that it was her. My friend described her as fun, bubbly, personable and extremely hip. He was right! Helen walked up to me smiling, introduced herself and welcomed me to Prague. I was so relieved! Not only that she was right on time, pleasant with great manners, she seemed really cool! I was excited as I knew I was about to spend a great afternoon in Prague with a wonderful tour guide, Helen.
We started walking. Around noon I was feeling hungry. I asked Helen to recommend a restaurant where we could have a nice, inexpensive lunch. I was curious to see what place in the entire Prague she would suggest. It was a beautiful day. The temperature must have been close to 20 degrees Celsius. You can only imagine the hundred s of cafés that were opened that day in Prague for all the tourists to enjoy. Helen picked this place right on the bank of river Vltava, overlooking Charles Bridge and the Prague’s Castle. From the moment I saw the place I could tell that Helen had a great taste. We sat outside. The food was delicious, conversation wonderful and the setting absolutely breathtaking! Right there, I knew Helen was not only a knowledgeable, bright young woman, but a very intuitive one. She read me and my personality to the T and picked a place that was exactly what I had in mind!
As I have mentioned above, I could tell right away that my day with Helen would be fun just by observing her behavior and demeanor. I was even more impressed by her when I learned about her life journey and how she ended up in Prague. Born in Ukraine, Helen studied in Kiev and earned her degree in editing. As a graduate, she was earning “whopping” $300-$400 a month working for a company in Kiev. To no one’s surprise, Helen’s aspirations and dreams were almost impossible to achieve under those conditions and so she made a tough decision to leave everything behind and move to Prague. Helen worked in a restaurant and retail business before she decided to pursue her family tradition – tourism. She became certified as Prague’s tour guide and made it her career. She has now been living in Prague for 6 years. She mastered her Czech and had I not known she was a foreigner, I wouldn’t have guessed she wasn’t from Prague. Her language skills have impressed me even more when we started speaking English – perfect grammar and no accent. In addition to Czech and English, I learned Helen is also fluent in Finish and of course in her mother tongue, Russian.
Helen’s knowledge about Prague, its art, history and the people, her passion for what she does make her a perfect tour guide I would highly recommend to everyone. She can be hired for individual or group tours. If you are thinking of getting a tour guide while in Prague, you must contact her. You will love her!