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The summer is around the corner, and if you plan on travelling around in the Czech Republic or  elsewhere in Europe by train, it may be a good idea to sign up for the In-Karta with Ceske Drahy.   Because I recently moved to Vienna, I have signed up for an IN25 card (with Rail Plus), which gives me a 25% discount on all of my regular tickets and returns.  All I have to do is show my card when I purchase my ticket and again when the conductor checks for tickets on the train.  I paid a total of 990 Kc, for a three year card.

There are different types of programs you can sign up for: N25, IN 50, IN 100, IN senior, IN junior or IN business application has been recorded where you can purchase discounted reservations for SC Pendolino trains.  The cool thing about an InKarta is also, that it allows you to use it as an electronic wallet and charge it up with money, and then purchase your tickets around the Czech Republic at the vending machines or the ticket office – and you get a bonus for utilizing this function.  If you are living in the Czech Republic, you also have many other discounts available to you on public transport and event cultural events.

Overview of In-karta card discounts

IN 25 (Cost depends on your age and how many years you want to purchase it for, check here, you will pay 150Kc for a year if you are 15-26 yrs old) is intended for all passengers, including children, students who take the train regularly to school or work. It is also worthwhile for frequent travel. With an In-karta IN 25, passengers receive a 25% discount on one-way, return and commuter tickets (in weekly, monthly and quarterly variants), and a discount on SporoTiket Česko and ČD Promo tickets, and discount on reservations for SC trains as well.

IN 50 (Cost depends on your age and how many years you want to purchase it for, check here – you will pay 1,300 Kc for a year if you are 15-26 yrs old) is suitable mainly for regular trips by youth from 15 to 26 years of age and adults, with a special price for pensioners. With an In-karta IN 50, passengers receive a 50% discount on one-way and return tickets, a 25% discount on commuter tickets, and a discount on SporoTiket Česko and ČD Promo tickets, and discount on reservations for SC trains as well.

IN 100 (Cost is 22K per yr, 45K for 2 yrs, 67K for 3 yrs, more here)
is intended for regular travel with a higher level of comfort. Without having to purchase additional travel documents, passengers are entitled to unlimited travel on ČD trains in 1st or 2nd class, a discount on reservations and tickets to destinations abroad (with the RailPlus discount), discount on reservations for SC trains, the option to transport one piece of oversized luggage free of charge, free travel on Airport Express connections, and free use of the ČD cableway at Ještěd.

IN business
is a version of the IN 100 discount (without RailPlus) suitable for corporate clients. The card is issued to the company (not to an individual), is transferable and helps resolve issues surrounding business trips.

IN senior
is intended for passengers over 70 years of age. With the IN senior discount, passengers need not purchase any additional travel documents for travel on local (Os) and limited-stop (Sp) trains. For journeys on fast (R) trains and higher-category trains, passengers can take advantage of a 50% discount off the regular fare or the return fare, 25% discount off the commuter tickets and a discount on SporoTiket Česko and ČD Promo tickets, and discount on reservations for SC trains as well.

If you plan on travelling abroad the Czech Republic and you apply for the In Karta, you must be sure to let them know at the ticket office, as you can only get discounts on international travel with the Rail Plus option.  It just means you need to purchase your discount for a longer period of time, rather than just a 3 months period for example.  So for the IN25 discount that I got, I had to sign up for 3 years, which totaled at 990 KC, still very much worth it.

More details about the In Karta can be found here.  Whether you decide to purchase the discounts or not, be safe and bon voyage – or shall I say šťastnou cestu!

PRE energy company has prepared an exhibition, at their Jungmannova Street location, of new electric bikes.  In addition, they have moved their rental bike station there from the old one that was located at Mánes.  They started their rental program last year in June and saw great interest so the program will expand.

The selection consists of 12 bike models that are ideal for getting around Prague. Currently, there are 10 PRE charging stations around the city.  You can view the locations here.   There will be about 22 charging stations in Prague. The first new charging stations will be in Výstaviště Holešovice and then one in Prague 22 and Prague 13. PRE is working with Shopping centers around the city to set up new stations.

Charging Station

The PREkolo (PREbike) is available to tourists to see the city as well as PRE customers who can receive a discount by just showing identification and a PRE invoice no more than a year old.  Currently PRE customers have 50% discount. Prague’s hilly terrain is difficult for an untrained cyclist but the electric bikes make it possible for anyone to enjoy the city on a bike.  The PREkolo will easily get you up the Petřín Hill and can also get you from the Dancing House to the Prague Castle in 15 minutes.

You can rent the bike to tour the city, run errands or just go on a leisure ride.  The website has some recommended routes you can explore.  The website is only in Czech for now but I am sure you can get the gist of it with the help of Google translate.

There are about 30 electric charging stations around Prague.  The 10 PRE  charging locations will provide energy for free, the non-PRE stations are at about 110 crowns. Here is a map of all the charging stations around the Czech Republic.

 

PRE Rental Location:
Jungmannova 747/28 (Palác TeTa), 110 00 Praha 1
GPS coordinates: 50°4’55.308″N, 14°25’21.036″E
www.prekolo.cz 

Reservation form in English can be found here.

The Transport Company of Prague (DPP) prepared in cooperation with the Conservatory of Jaroslav Ježek and VOŠ, an all day multi-genre concert ‘Tune in the Metro’, for all passengers to enjoy on April 18th in the Prague Metro.  Patron of the event is the Mayor of Prague Bohuslav Svoboda.

Below is the schedule and locations of the bands.

 

06.00 Rajská zahrada: Guitar duo (Latin)
07.00 Budějovická: Jazz quartet (Bebop)

08.00 Luka: Flute quartet (Contemporary)
08.00 Dejvická: Saxophone quartet (Contemporary)
09.00 Budějovická: Guitar quartet (Classical
10.00 Florenc: String Orchestra (Musicals)
10.00 Muzeum: Musical set (Musicals)
11.00 Kobylisy: Brass Ensamble (Folk)
12.00 Malostranská: Guitar duo (Baroque)
13.00 Florenc: Big band KJJ (Swing)
14.00 Vltavská: String Orchestra (Musicals)
14.00 Hradčanská: Musical set (Musicals)
15.00 Florenc: Big band VOŠ (Swing)
16.00 Muzeum: Jazz quartet (Jazz)
17.00 Můstek: Lab band KJJ (Swing)
18.00 Vltavská: Choir DP (Contemporary)
18.00 Anděl: Flute quartet (Contemporary)
18.00 Smíchov. nádr.: Saxophone quartet (Contemporary)
19.00 Můstek: Tritonus Priest (Pop, Jazz)
20.00 Florenc: Excite (Rock)
21.00 Muzeum: Nano Illussions (Soul)
22:00 Můstek B: Trumpet Q (Jazz, Swing, Funk)

Having a baby at Motol Hospital in Prague

March 28th, 2012 | Posted by Karolinad in Karolina | Logistics | Medical - (Comments Off)

As promised, I wanted to give you my impressions and experience on having a baby in one of the biggest hospitals in Prague, Motol, which is a University teaching hospital.  When you are faced with a choice of where to have your [first] baby, it can be a tough one – especially when there are many competing hospitals at your reach.  Many opt in for Podoli or U Apolinare – both hospitals specializing only in labor & delivery.   For me it was not a hard choice at all, I simply selected a hospital that was around the corner from my apartment.    My thought process went something like this: 1/ Motol  Labor & Delivery has a great reputation 2/ It is the shortest distance from where I live 3/ The Neonatology department is the best in the city (newborns in critical condition are all brought here) 4/ My Gynecologist said that the big 3 (all mentioned above) are all very comparable. I think that in the end, it’s all about who you encounter that may make a difference on your stay and experience.

I didn’t want to take any chances, so I did choose to pay a doctor to deliver my first baby.  Although many women deliver without a specific doctor on the scene and do just fine, I just felt better knowing the person that delivered my baby.  In the end, I am glad I did, due to some complications during labor.  I started going to him a month before my due date on weekly check-ups and called him anytime I had questions.  When it was actually time to go to the hospital, he told me to just go in and get monitored to see if I am really in labor, as many first time mothers jump the gun.   It turns out I didn’t.

I came in, told the nurse the name of the doctor that was to deliver my baby and they were in touch with him from then on.  In the meantime, I had a monitor around my belly along with pain from the strengthening contractions.  A delivery nurse was assigned to me upon my arrival and was in contact with my doctor who came a few hours before we started pushing. Before I went to the delivery station, I was placed in a room where I was able to shower, lay down, bounce on a ball or whatever to alleviate the pain – to be honest nothing helped (the room was meant to be shared with others, I happened to be there alone that day). 

At Motol you have shared quarters with other mothers to be.  There are 5 delivery stations some partially closed a couple completely closed.  There are also two separate/closed delivery rooms with one that has a bathtub.  For critical cases, there is also an intensive care pre-birth room for the mother/child who are in danger as well as one operating room.  During labor you can get an epidural at no extra cost at Motol and have one person in with you during labor for a 700,- Kc. Fee. 

After baby arrives:
Shortly after I delivered my baby at 1 in the morning, they took him to get cleaned up, measured and weighed and brought him back to me in an incubator (placed him on my check for some time) – which the standard for all newborns at Motol.  After an hour or so, they took my son to the “sestinedeli” post-partum ward and wheeled me off to get some sleep in a different section of the hospital, as it was in the middle of the night and they had no room until the morning.  It actually worked for me, I was exhausted and needed sleep badly. In the morning they came to get me and I was anxious / nervous in a way to see my baby boy.    

In sestinedeli, it is standard to stay for approximately 4 days post-partum if mother and baby are healthy.  They monitor the weight of your baby on a daily basis and until it gains some of the weight back before you are able to breast-feed before they release you.  I had to stay for 7 days due to some complication I had during labor as I was on anti-biotics and some mothers also had to stay longer as their baby developed jaundice. During your time here, the nurses teach you how to bathe your newborn, help you with breast feeding [which I found extremely helpful] and generally are at your disposal should you have questions or complications. What was brutal was the 7am morning doctor’s visits, meaning the nurses wake you up at 6.30am and ensure you have a clean room before the doctor comes.  Despite the complications I had during labor, and the follow-up ultrasounds, I had a positive experience both in delivery and in the post-partum ward. 

Release from hospital, what happens now?
When you are released you receive a “zdravotni a ockovaci prukaz” (health book) for your baby, where your pediatrician will track the progress of your baby (weight/height/health) along with a vaccination booklet.  Beware that the day you are released it is standard practice for them to vaccinate your baby for tuberculosis – if you wish to delay this, you must tell them in advance. The hospital takes care of the paperwork for your baby’s birth certificate which you will receive by mail a couple of weeks later.  Your baby is automatically covered by your health insurance upon birth, but you must notify the insurance company of his/her birth so that you can receive a card for the baby.

You have to select a pediatrician before the birth of your baby and notify them when your release date is.  It is standard practice for them to come to your home for the first check-up which should be a day or two after you come home.  After that you will go to your pediatrician’s office in the following intervals for regular check-ups: 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, 18 months, 3 yrs and then every 2 yrs until your child is 18.  Obviously, if your child is sick, you go at any time.

Read about what to expect when you are pregnant and choice of hospitals

Good luck!

What to Expect When You are Expecting [in Prague]

February 29th, 2012 | Posted by Karolinad in Karolina | Logistics | Medical - (Comments Off)

Expecting a baby is considered to be a wonderful, life changing experience that many women wait all their lives for.  Getting pregnant in a foreign country is another experience and it can be pretty scary, especially when you are going through it for the first time.  Not only do you not know what to expect in terms of your body changing [I won’t even go into the hormonal changes], but what can you expect from a healthcare standard and insurance perspective when you are not in your home country?    

Because I have gone through it before in Prague, I can say that it’s definitely better than you’d expect and I have heard many expat women say they are grateful to have had a baby in Prague because of the overall pre-natal and post-birth care.  Whatever your residence status may be, everyone in the Czech Republic is required to have healthcare insurance – whether you are an EU citizen,  have insurance through your employer, husband, or whether you are covering it monthly on your own.   The good news is, very little money will come from your pocket.  Pre-natal check-ups and the birth are covered by your insurance. On top of that, the most of the necessary tests and screenings are also covered by your insurance.

The first thing you need to do when you determine that you are pregnant, is make an appointment with your gynecologist – they will invite you between week 6-8 for your first ultrasound to determine  the status of the pregnancy.   When all checks out, you are required to return around week 11, and if everything is good, you receive a “Těhotenský průkaz” – a pregnancy booklet that tracks the progress of your pregnancy, all of the test results, allergies, previous pregnancies / complications if any.  Congrats, you are now officially pregnant ;) 

Between week 11 and week 14, you have to give blood to determine your blood’s RH factor and other  important information and get scheduled for your I. Screening to determine the possibilities of birth effects including Down syndrome and other potential developmental problems (Detailed ultrasound/blood test).  This screening is most often done at Podolí or Motol hospitals, or private clinics that have quality ultrasound machines with specialists.  The I. screening is not covered by your insurance anymore, which was the case a couple of years back when I had my baby.  Good news is, it costs aprox. 1,000 Kc, so it’s not a major dent in your pocket. 

Around week 14, sometimes a couple of weeks earlier depending on the institution, you HAVE to register with a hospital where you will deliver.  The reason is that in recent years there was a baby boom and all the “porodnice” or birthing hospitals were busting at the seams and women would get turned away when they arrived, due to limited space.  Sounds scary, but don’t worry, the baby boom has slowed down, and it does not happen often that you have to go give birth in a different hospital than expected. If you are over 35, they will consider you to get the genetic test around week 15 to ensure your baby is healthy – this does involves a sample of your amniotic fluid, potentially other genetic tests.

The II. Screening is due around your 20th week, which also involves a detailed ultrasound to ensure all of the organs of the baby are developing correctly – this is covered by your insurance and is done at a specialist office (usually same as the first screening).  Around this time, you will also have to get the glucose screening / tolerance test to ensure you do not have gestational diabetes.  At week 30, it’s time for your final screening, and this could be done at your doctor’s office, depending on quality of the ultrasound machine.  Throughout the pregnancy you will several vaginal exams to determine the status of your cervix and one pap smear (usually at the beginning of the pregnancy) unless you have had one recently.         

About a month before your due date, your gynecologist releases you to the hospital of choice, where you will have to go for weekly check-ups before the delivery.  In most cases, women do not have a specific doctor that will be present at the birth, but will deliver with whomever is on shift that day/night.  However, if you feel more comfortable to select a doctor that will deliver your baby, it can be done, but you will pay extra.  The amount ranges from 10-20,000 Kc and you have to select the doctor before you register (if you are given a recommendation) or select from the doctors that are at your hospital of choice.

Hospitals in Prague:

Motol – Prague 5 (My choice)
Podoli – Prague 4
U apolinare – Prague 2
Porodnice Bulovka – Prague 8
Thomayerova Nemocnice – Prague 4

Here is a link to the ranking of the hospitals mentioned above – Motol wins ;)  Read about having a baby in Motol Hospital in Prague

Good luck with your pregnancy!

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