Czech Us Out
After doing some damage to our livers and celebrating a reunion of siblings with intense revelry, we packed up our things and headed for Prague in the Czech Republic. This was a city on the top of most everyone’s list and we were extremely excited to explore all it had to offer.
What We Did
Day 73 (10/3/16): We originally planned to start the day with an early morning historical walking tour of the city. However, when we went outside, we found it to be raining fairly hard and opted instead to go for a pint at the beer just below our Airbnb and wait out the rain. When it finally calmed down, we met our tour group in the main square and proceeded to learn about the ins and outs of the old town and Jewish quarter, whilst hearing the extensive political and territorial history of the city (Prague has been a part of like five different countries in the past 150 years). Afterwards, we grabbed food for dinner and began drinking some beers and playing a new game Katie’s brother Joey recommended we downloaded called Picolo. After we had a nice buzz going, Adam, Jimmy, and I decided to stay in, while Katie, Justin, and Joey went out. From what I heard they had a fabulous time complete with new friends, free drinks, irrational fears of rape, and an epic swordfight to the death. You will have to talk to them if you want to find out more.
Day 74 (10/4/16): Today we left the apartment, walked across Charles Bridge and up a ton of steps until we arrived at Prague Castle. We waited in line and entered the castle walls, touring the cathedral, great hall, living quarters, and small shops that lined the walls. From there, we descended into a more central area of Prague and found the Lennon Wall, a normal city wall that since the 1980s has been covered in John Lennon inspired graffiti, Beatles lyrics, and messages of love and peace. Our next stop had a more comedic vein, in that it was a sculpture of two men peeing, located in front of the Franz Kafka Museum. The sculpture was meant to represent a pissing match between the Czech Republic’s two biggest cities, but now it simply serves as an odd site where you go to snap some humorous photos. We picked up some booze on our way back and played more games before heading out again to enjoy the city’s night life along with Adam’s friend Jared, who was in the city at the time.
Day 75 (10/5/16): Adam and I decided to stay in and nurse our hangovers, while the rest of the group headed out for an impromptu self-guided food tour of the city. They started in Prague’s main square where they visited a church before enjoying roasted pig, open faced sandwiches, meatloaf from a local butcher shop, margaritas and nachos, and smazeny syr (cheese). We met back up for dinner and relaxed the rest of the night.
Day 76 (10/6/16): We departed Prague and boarded a bus bound for Budapest (after stocking up on McDonalds).
What We Learned
- Free walking tours are awesome. They are also now available in almost every main city in Europe. If you are interested in doing one, just look up “free tour” and whatever city you are in and trip advisor or google should point you in the right direction. Some of them suggest or even require reservations (free of charge) to limit the size of the tour groups. If travelling in the summer during peak tourist season I would recommend them if they are offered in that the group sizes can get astronomical and if you do not get one, you may be turned away. Now, you may be thinking that there is no way this is really free, and you would be correct. However, the business model is very smart in that the tour guides will ask that if you enjoyed the tour to tip them at the end for whatever you think it was worth. The tour guides are required to give a certain dollar amount per person on the tour to the operating company, and then they get to keep the rest. Adam and I generally tipped anywhere from 10-20 euro for the both of us for each tour we have done, depending on how good we felt it was. This system really motivates the guides to keep you engaged and ensure you enjoyed yourself, while allowing you to only pay what you think the tour was worth. Seriously, check them out. Most companies offer more than one tour focused on different topics, and we have done at least a half-dozen of them so far to great amusement.
- The chiming of the astronomical clock in the main square is the most disappointing, over-hyped site to see. While the clock itself is fascinating and learning about all the different symbols and characters is actually quite interesting, waiting around for the hour to chime is not worth it. You will fight loads of other tourists to see not much more than the worst coocoo clock movements ever. Trust us….
- Katie told me that if travelling to Prague, you absolutely must try the meatloaf at Nase Maso, a local butcher shop. And coming from a meatloaf hater, this is quite an endorsement. So check it out! J
- Playing Picolo was a lot of fun during this leg of our trip. I seriously recommend you download the app if you are into drinking games and want to mix it up. Some highlights from our time playing were when I was told that I could not stop talking until the game told me to upon penalty of stiff drinks. So I didn’t. And let me tell you, when you talk that much you cannot breathe or listen to what anyone else is saying. It is not cool. Other funny parts included Jimmy’s British accent, which we discovered was that of an elderly English woman, and when Katie was told to speak in an Asian accent, while playing with Jared, who happens to be Asian and who promptly told her not to offend him (Katie chose to say nothing at all until the game told her she could stop).
- Mentioned previously in this post, the swordfight to the death between Justin and Joey was a very memorable moment of the trip, for those that can remember it. There may or may not be a video…..