Sometimes I make overly complicated travel plans which bear little logical and end up costing me more. For instance, I could have taken a flight from Katowice to Paris for €69 but instead opted to take a train, hitchhike and another train to Prague, then fly out of there the next day for a total cost €112. Ah well, it was more exciting to swing by Prague. Besides the beer is better here.
I lived in Prague for a year a few years ago, so I was able to orient myself fairly quickly. I hung out in the main strip, Václavské náměstí for a bit, slightly taken aback by the volume of tourists. I had forgotten how Prague gets swarmed by tourists during the summer. This is why I avoided hanging out in the centre while I lived here. It was much more fun to be in the suburbs anyway, piecing together Czech words and dealing with unfriendly service. I always found unfriendly service in Prague to be endearing, as if they are just pretending to not like you (but they really do).
Prague has developed very rapidly in the last few years and now resembles any other western city. Unfortunately, this also means that it’s no longer as cheap as it used to be years ago. Except for beer that is. You can still buy a 0.5L pint for 25kc in some bars (€1) which is pretty awesome. Actually beer is often the cheapest beverage you can buy. It’s great to see that some countries have their priorities right. And why shouldn’t beer be the most affordable beverage? (I wonder if there are countries where great chocolate is the cheapest food you can buy.)
Disneyland may be the happiest place on Earth for children but Prague is the happiest place on Earth for lager drinkers. In fact, that’s kind of why I ended up spending a year here. I initially came for a month to do a TEFL course in 2006 but upon it’s completion, I decided to stay. With beer at these prices, you can’t afford to leave!
Anyway, I managed to catch up with friends and Couchsurfers at a local bar. Generally in Prague you have to get table service and everyone is on one bill, which is great if you have 4-6 people. But when you have 15 people it gets messy. Especially with this bar which has a reputation for great views, good beer and “accidentally” adding items to the bill. So I decided to go up to the bar, sit on a bar stool and order a beer, pretending I was going to drink it there. It worked 4 times and on attempting to order my 5th pint I was told “This is forbidden”. Time to move on to the next pub!
I wish I could say that I did lots of interesting things while I was in Prague for 24 hours, like the castle, St Vitus Cathedral or at least a visit to my favourite čajovna (tea room) or vegetarian restaurant (Beas). But I didn’t. I’ve done all the touristy stuff here before anyway so I was just in town to catch up with friends (and enjoy amazing lager). But really, 24 hours isn’t enough to even just do that. So much for trying to slow travel!
Have you ever been to Prague?