Days spent – 2 days (5 August 2016 to 7 August 2016)
Places visited – Prague
Books read – None
Things done – Clock Tower pub crawl, Charles Bridge, castle, World War II and Communism tour, Astronomical Clock
Highlight(s) – Tour
Lowlight(s) – Not enough time…!
Cost – £109.14 (£54.57 per day)
A word of warning: the Czech Republic does not use Euros! When my hostel asked for six hundred and ninety two I nearly choked but in crowns it isn’t so bad!
The first thing I’m going to talk about is Prague’s Astronomical Clock. Before arriving, I didn’t know this was a big thing. I arrive in the town square at eight pm for the pub crawl to be greeted by hundreds of people pointing their phones and cameras at the clock. Sure enough, shortly after it chimes and everyone goes crazy. I wonder what the fuss is about! I take a photo, presumably this is an important event for some reason right?! I ask the pub crawl guy and he says “Yeah, the tour guides oversell it!”. Apparently there’s that sort of fuss every hour. It does have an interesting history though. Originally made it 1410, it’s the third oldest in the world. Legend has it that Hanuš (who made it) was blinded on the order of the Prague Councillors so that he could not repeat his work. In turn, he disabled the clock, and no one was able to repair it for a hundred years. But, it isn’t the third oldest any longer because it was destroyed in World War II.
I join the infamous Prague clock tower pub crawl (also called Drunken Monkey – look it up on the Internet, some funny stuff on their website) because I’ve heard good things about it (thanks Javier). Two hours of unlimited drinks sounds like a good (bad) idea to me! It’s kind of weird as a solo, a pure solo in fact as no one else from my hostel went. A lot of English and Germans here and it’s a good crowd. It’s hard to get used to the fact that it’s legal to smoke indoors here. It’s strange when you tell people you’re solo travelling because everyone says “Ah, that’s so cool” or “Wow, that’s amazing” and most make an extra effort to be sociable. On the way back to the hostel I succumb………KFC.
After spending too long in the morning in a cafe sorting transport to Krakow (surprisingly hard from Prague) I spend the afternoon on the World War II and Communism tour. It’s quite interesting because the guide is half Canadian and half Czech and her grandmother left Czechoslovakia (as it was then) in 1968. Apparently, World War II was bearable but Communism wasn’t. People forget what happened to the Czechs and Poles in the war because all focus is on Brits, French, Russians and Americans as the allies.
I need to mention costs again. This cost is very unfair to the Czechs! A pub crawl in a two day stay doesn’t have chance to be absorbed over time. Also, because it is relatively cheap here I decide to live like a king for two days. I’m eating two or three times per day and drinking to the bottom of the glass, repeatedly. Additionally, the bus into the country from Munich wasn’t cheap.
It’s here that I start to undestand the traveller’s number one dilemma, the costs. I had a blast, but it wasn’t cheap. Struggling with that balance is an ongoing problem.
I didn’t know what Czech food was, and I still don’t! But in Prague there are a lot of places with British influence. It’s the closest place to home I’ve been to so far. Having succumbed to KFC, I also succumb and have fish and chips. It wasn’t perfect, but I’m not sure my local fish and chips can ever be matched. I guess all this just means I have to go back to do things properly!
Strawbs – written 30 August 2016 (on Lake Baikal shoreside at 6:30am), published 31 August 2016
Prague main square
The first ever defenestration happened from the window of this town hall!
Cool tee shirt – I may as well declare myself. At least I would be defending the realms of men…