Finally, almost one week holiday! I was lingering for some time off, without a daily schedule, wake up without the clock and walk around without any concerns or plans. This vacation was planed since January, since The Cure concert was sold out in Amsterdam and the one in Prague was still with some tickets left.
If for each trip I used to make a plan for each day, searching on the internet about top attractions and about hidden areas, for Prague I decided to go with the flow. So there we were, with a map downloaded with some minutes before leaving, waiting for our EasyJet flight. It took us 5 minutes to pass through the security check and to arrive at the gate and already the flight was delayed. We had a total of 40 minutes delay, but hey, we were just in our first day of holiday, there was no rush, and the girls working for EasyJet were really nice. In the end we’ve arrived in Prague airport and it was easy-peasy to get to the city center. When I asked friends about what to take from the airport they said: taxi, uber, shuttle. But why bother? There was a info point with tickets for the Airport Express bus, which goes directly to the center, with only 74 CZK for 2 persons (almost 3e). The trip was exactly 25 minutes until Namesti Republiky, where we had rented an apartment on AirBnb. I highly recommend it – it is cheap (the taxi is around 1000 CZK), clean and fast. But, pay attention, if you buy the tickets from the bus driver the price is 60 CZK per person, so buy the tickets from the info point.
One thing I was somehow disappointed of was the bank system. It seems that the banks are using a confusing message when you extract money from a card in another currency. They purely show you the conversion rate and ask you if you accept it or not. And because we thought that if we are not accepting it we will not be able to withdraw money we accepted each time the bank’s conversion which was really bad compared with the exchange rate of our own bank. So, in total, we lost around 30e due to the bad exchange rate. So, if you are in Czech Republic, withdraw the money without accepting the exchange rate if you know that your bank has a better one.
The first impression of Prague was that it is comparable with London or Copenhagen, with the huge and imposing buildings. Of course, the architecture is completely different and there’s no second of seeing the same beautiful wall decorations. In the remaining afternoon we’ve just strolled around the old town, starting from the astronomical clock and ending in Mala Strana. In front of the clock there was a crowd waiting for it to turn, but there weren’t so many people. The opposite was on Charles Bridge, which was effectively occupied by thousands of people. It took us more than half an hour to pass it, due to the slow movement. We saw Amsterdam in the pick hours of tourism, but I never felt without air as much as I felt on this bridge. There was no day not to see the crowds walking, taking selfies and admiring the Prague Castle on the top of the hill. The only occasion we had to see it almost empty was in one night, after midnight, when almost all the tourists are or sleeping, or partying in the clubs around the center.
After some hours spent in the crowds, sensing the smell of weed from time to time, we rested in a pub near our place. It was kind of a surprise to see that we can smoke (tobacco) inside. At first it was fun and kind of nostalgic to smoke drinking a beer inside a pub, but when we got home the smell was so impregnated in our clothes that we realized how good it is the fact that in NL smoking inside it’s not allowed. When a boy working in bar came to bring our beers, he said about our lighter that seems a stoner’s lighter. And since he opened the discussion we couldn’t help ourselves asking if weed is legal in Czech Republic. The answer was that you are allowed to smoke, but it is illegal to buy or sell. And that he knows some bars from where you can buy not only weed, but even cocaine or LSD. From topic to topic, we got to the point that we are living in NL, where you can buy marijuana in different shops and that, even if it is not totally legal, it is tolerated by the police. In that moment the guy put on our table some weed in a napkin, saying that we should try the czech one, which is incomparable with the dutch one. We declined the proposal and continued tasting different types of beer, that in the end, after 3 hours, we were drunk, a feeling we didn’t had from a long time. But we were in holiday, no plans for tomorrow, so even the next day’s hangover was endurable.
And now about the food. During our 6 days stay, we’ve tried many traditional dishes: goulash, bread dumplings, roasted duck, pork knee. If you are accustomed with heavy meals they are a nice thing to try, but, otherwise, it is better to search for the international restaurants, which are almost everywhere. From all the meals we had, all of them in different restaurants, 2 places are still in my head. One it was close to our apartment, on Dlouha, called Sister’s Bistro, where we had our breakfast twice. They are selling a kind of traditional spread bread (called chlebicky), which is simply delicious. The other one we discovered around Staropramen brewery: there was nothing fancy about it, it reminded us of a neighborhood restaurant we used to eat at in Bucharest. The portions were huge, the food tasty and the price.. what to say about the price? We paid around 10e for both of us for food and one beer each. If you are in the area it is called U Kristiana.
And the final tip for today: if you are planing to go in Prague take comfortable shoes, with bigger soles (but no heels!), otherwise your heels will hurt as nothing before. The streets are paved, the city has wonderful hills and it is a shame not to visit the parks around the center. Especially, during autumn and a overcrowded city.