A good friend of mine once said to me “Tash, life just happens to you, doesn’t it?” (Ross, J. 2012). This couldn’t have been more correct than the time I took a mini break to Prague, when I was living in Germany.
So, why was I in Prague?
Why the hell not?! I’ve always wanted to go! I’ve heard so many wonderful things about the place and I really wanted to see ‘The Lovers’ Bridge’. I’m not sure whether that’s it’s real name or not, but it was the first story I was told about Prague.
The story is as follows…
There’s an old bridge in this stunning city, and if you attach a lock with yours and your partner’s name on it and throw away the key into the river, then your love will be forever true.
How cute is that!
Being a bit of a romanic, I wanted to do this for my boyfriend and myself. So, as part of his birthday present, I vowed to get him a lock (which he ended up paying for. I will pay him back… one day) and take it to this bridge as a gesture of my love for him…
Oh God, how sickly sweet. Pass us the bucket and excuse me whilst I vomit into it.
Anyway, a college friend of mine, Joe, had been studying there for the whole year and I hadn’t seen him since we’d left so I thought “Why not?”. I’d get to catch up with him, see a city I’d always wanted to see and I’d be able to crash on his sofa, so that’s accommodation sorted!
So, I contacted him and I bought my tickets and everything seemed to be going well, perhaps too well!
…A few weeks later Joe called me up and told me he’d forgotten about a trip to Croatia he’d planned that was on the weekend I was supposed to be in Prague…
…but not to worry, he’d ask his flat mate, Greg, to meet me at the airport and such…
… Then there came the floods in Prague and my friend contacted me again to say that the trip was called off and that he WOULD be able to pick me up after all…
… a few days later, he confirmed that they would after all be going to Croatia.
So, like my friend said before, life just happens to me. I have no control over how things go, apparently.
But despite all this curfuffel, my weekend in Prague was one of the best weekends of my life so far. That’s no exaggeration.
My friend’s flatmate, Greg, kindly met me at the station, served me a dinner 2 nights in a row, took me for a tour round half of Prague, introduced me to his and Joe’s friends, and along with his other flatmates, Matej and Mai. They introduced me to all their friends who welcomed me warmly and took me out and showed me how they partied in Prague. And they liked to party hard.
Matej, Mai, Greg and Joe.
Before I get onto drunken stories, here are my must sees in Prague:
John Lennon Wall.
After a bonding session with Greg and discovering we have quite a few mutual friends and live relatively close to each other (It’s such a small world!). Greg showed me this place. It’s one of the ‘must see’ attractions of any non-European on a Euro trip. Although, I don’t think John Lennon ever came to this particular wall, a sketch of him was painted on this wall, which as time went on, turned into a shrine and has now become a place to tag or paint a Beatles/ Lennon related piece of … art, i guess.
Taking full advantage of the wall’s fame was this place around the corner: John Lennon Pub.
See, I’m not much of a musician, but even I can spot the mistake here…
We didn’t go in, but I assume this place is filled with replica Beatles memorabilia and over priced drinks.
The Metronome* (*Replacement to the Statue of Stalin’s) & The Shoes
This metronome replaces the spot that was previously occupied by the largest statue of Stalin there ever was. As you can see, Stalin’s statue is no longer there. It had to be taken down soon after it was unveiled because Stalin had died and people in Prague obvs were against having this reminder of this not-so-missed leader.
The Shoes? I think this is quite a recent thing to have come about, but apparently, for the teenagers in Prague, if you pop your cherry whilst you’re in this city, you then go to this monument and throw the shoes you were wearing the night you lost it, over this wire. God knows why, but it seems like a fun idea. Best not wear your nicest shoes then, hey?
Check out Prague Castle to see the most intimidating, menacing, aggressive statues at its gates. These are ridiculous! They’re so scary! It just screams: “Don’t mess with the Czechs.”
Also, if you’ve ever visited London as a tourist, you may very well have gone to Buckingham Palace and had a photo taken with the Queen’s guards. In full tourist spirit, I got one with one of the Czech guards. I must be honest, I prefer the colour of their suits to the Queen’s guards’
King Charles Bridge & the Saint of great sex
Want to have a great sex life for the rest of your life? Then rub this Saint’s foot.
Not sure which foot I’m talking about? Look for the gold patch. For once being touchy feely leads to a clean, rather than a dirty outcome. He must be a Saint!
Greg gave me the best tip before I went wondering around the old time and that was: To look up.
I must admit, I didn’t appreciate architecture much before I went to Prague, but seriously, when you look up, that’s when you see the beauty of Prague.
One of my favourite tourist attractions is it the Astrological Clock. I quite like astrology, but admittedly, i know next to nothing. If anyone knows how to read this clock, please let me know, I’d love to know!
–Wear comfy shoes and walk, walk, walk. You’ll find the most amazing views the higher you get and the most beautiful parks.
–Try some Czech delicacies
Goulash works wonders as a Hangover cure (left). Probably all of the ‘traditionally Czech’ restaurants in Prague will sell this dish. There are loads of them, so don’t think you’ll miss out. Also, they’re quite reasonably priced.
If you see any market stalls, try all the food that they have to offer. I tried this lush sweet, pudding (right). I don’t know what It’s called, but it kind of tastes like a an apple strudel, without the apple inside and a crunchier pastry.
–Learn a phrase or two in Czech.
Out of politeness! Break the British stereotype of only speaking English!
I’m not saying you should learn Czech before you go. It’s a bloody hard language to learn! But at least phrases like “Dobrý den ” (Hello) and “Děkuji” (Thank you). It’s the least you can do seeing as most places do speak english.
–Write down the Czech name of tourist attractions as well as the English names.
Had i’d not had Greg, I wouldn’t have known where the hell I was going and would have just stared gaumlessly at my free map of Prague I received on my flight.
–Do a bit of research.
Make a list of the places you want to visit and find out a little about them. Heck, by a guide book or rent one from your library, it makes the attractions more interesting!
–Check the exchange rate and the prices of things.
Ask around. I did and it helped me decide how much money I was going to take with me. For 3/ 4 days I took about €100 which in hindsight was just a bit too little. I had to skimp a bit towards the end of my time there. #studentlife
–Learn to love Beer.
It is very cheap.
A huge thanks to everyone I met in Prague. You made me feel so welcome and it was great to meet you all! I felt very privileged to have witnessed the end of a year that had brought new friendships amongst such an eclectic group of people. The weekend I was in Prague, coincided with Greg’s last weekend there. He was the first to leave from his friendship group, so as you can imagine, it was a party fuelled weekend. Naturally, a lot of alcohol was consumed, the nights didn’t end until 8am, and towards the end of the weekend, things got quite nostalgic and emotional.
Greg’s last meal. Port, Pasta and Ketchup.
Greg and Chloe being totally sober.
Heading home at in the early hours of the morning
Mine and Mai’s beauty session before going to bed. Who wouldn’t want to wake up next to these faces?