05.09.2007 - 08.09.2007 13 °C
We have been in Prague for 3 days now and although it felt very foreign to start with it soon began to take on a feel of familiarity.
We landed in Prague from England to discover that Jeff’s guitar didn’t arrive … oh no! They assured him it would be traced and they would get it to us as soon as possible – 3 days, and numerous phone calls later, they have said it is Prague now and should have been delivered this morning – but it wasn't …
Prague is a beautiful old, ornate city that was saved from the bombings of WWII. It is like being in a fairy tale – castles, towers, wide staircases, fancy plaster decoration on everything, fine ironwork, detailed stained glass and cobble stones everywhere forming different patterns on each pavement. There are big central squares and boulevards, it feels very ‘European’. There are trams which are a bit of a novelty, plus lots of liquor shops (even selling absinthe), wine bars and pubs.
Our first hostel in the centre was in a good location but a bit on the edge … we moved to an apartment – even cheaper surprisingly – incase the hostel got noisy over the weekend. Our first meal was at a local Beer Hall. It was a sudden introduction to Czech traditions, food and drink. The place was like an old classroom complete with carved graffiti on the long tables and coat hooks on the walls, the food was hearty pork, with various sauces and potato, bread or bacon dumplings and the beer was in litre glasses followed by generous shot glasses of some potent herbal liquor. We are back in the lands where people smoke everywhere though and at precisely 11pm they closed up and asked us all to leave. For diner the next night we found a very cute restaurant with great food for very low prices and more litres of beer. Prague is famous for its beer – it is very nice and only about $1.50 / litre. Breakfast at the hostel consisted of the mysterious arrival of bread, jam and apples arriving in our common kitchen (which we had never seen anyone else use).
The Czech language is very strange though – it sounds like they are speaking backwards with odd groups of consonants like ‘vzechny’ ‘nski’ ‘tovna’ but there is usually someone who can help in English. In a book shop we visited they had done funny things to English words and names – Margaret Thatcherova and Jane Austinova to name a few. The sections in the shop were labeled Paperbacky, Thrillery and Detektivy!
The next day with marginally better weather so we went to explore the castle – it was very interesting with a high tower to the top of St Vitus Cathedral offering fantastic views over the city, big halls, lots of suits of amour (you could even buy one for only $360A), lessons in crossbow shooting, shields painted on the walls, an alleyway of tiny workmens’ cottages now selling souveniers blacksmith demonstrations and lots horrible implements of torture.
It was about at this moment that I somehow erased all my photos of the last 3 days … oh no.