Prague

It wasn’t a really long drive from Berlin to Prague.
Arrived to what looked like a security complex.
Apparently the hostel used to be a school that’s been renovated into a hostel.
This was the first city on my tour that didn’t use euros. So when I arrived at the hostel, I had to find an ATM. As soon as I left the hostel, I noticed that we were across the Road from the Ogilvy office. I set about looking for an ATM and headed into the great Czech unknown. My initial feeling about Prague was that it was the most foreign feeling place I had been to on the tour. I found a few people I’d met on the bus on the exact same mission as I. After a bit of walking around we had still not been able to find the ATM when they decided to go back to the hostel. I persisted though and was happy to find the ATM just a few minutes after they disappeared. I pulled out my cash and went back the hostel and organized my gear. So first stop… Lunch, I went to a restaurant near the ATM I had been to and found the same group there id met earlier along with the Busabout guide. We had an interesting experience with the staff, where every time we would ask for one beer, or one pivo, we would indicate it with the index finger. They would get confused and ask “two?” and hold out their thumb and index finger. Apparently when counting on their hands in the Czech Republic you start with your thumb for number one. So be careful when ordering something there and using thumbs up.
The first day I took a on a walking tour of Prague. This was described as being an epic tour of Prague with a river cruise and a three course meal. I decided to do this when I woke in the morning and it was a little late in the piece so had to navigate the Prague public transport system… Oh joy! I chose to use the tram since it was a short walk to the stop. The tickets are sold based on time, so you can buy a 30minute for 25 crown (one euro it about 1.20au ticket or a 70minute ticket for 36 crown. With the ticket you can use the tram or the train.
I got on the tram and found it a little harder than expected to be aware of where I was going. It’s just that the names of the places were not memorable names that I would be familiar with or could easily remember. I had to just pay close attention to my map and where we were. Even now I can’t remember the name of the stop that I needed to take.

I got to the city and I was impressed with the gamut of architecture, this was later highlighted in the tour.
I arrived at the meeting point as the group was leaving. I was happy to be able to navigate the streets of Prague without too much hassle. I promptly bought my ticket and had to catch up to the group. The Czech born guide who happened to teach Czech to foreigners was far from entertaining, not to mention far from informative, well I think she was just on another planet. She spoke very slowly and her monotone voice made it very hard to concentrate. I often found myself tuning out and taking photos of things that were completely unrelated to what she was talking about. We must have been running behind time because all of a sudden she started to rush past different things that were obviously important. We went to the astronomical clock, but missed the stroke on the hour where it does this cuckoo clock type demonstration with little statues that come out of the clock. We missed it by 5 minutes and she said that she did it on purpose so we were less likely to be pick pocketed. Then when we got to the historical bridge, the most impressive bridge in the city, she advised that we cross quickly and don’t stop, again because the pick pockets would be about. As a local apparently she knew when the pickpockets would be out. I know I’m rattling off with complaints and the truth is that if she was more informative then perhaps it would have been more entertaining, and there really were some absolutely beautiful sights to be seen. The cruise was amazing, sitting atop the roof of a tour boat watching the city go by, just gorgeous. Later we went to a little restaurant just a short walk from the astronomical clock and sat for our three course meal. A vegetable soup to start followed by goulash and bread dumplings, and for dessert, a slice of scroll cake with coffee. The last place we went to on the tour was Prague castle… Very impressive, it really was a beautiful building. The cathedral in the castle walls was just breathtaking. It concluded with an incredible view of Prague where I was able to complete one of my photo challenges… I planked Prague.

The tour came to an end and I went back to the hostel played some beach volleyball with some American Contiki tourists (I miss volleyball) and table tennis with a couple of Aussie travelers. The drinks were 45 crown each for a pint which was quite pricey at about $3au. But then they had happy hour when they were 25crown. The hostel was the most expensive place to eat or drink, so we did spend a lot of time at the bowling bar that I mentioned earlier.

Day two in Prague I was woken up by the sun creeping it’s way across the room with me in it’s sights. 5am and I had beaming sunlight bursting through the missing panels of the blinds. This made it so terribly hard to sleep… So even though I had a late night the night before I couldn’t help but give in and get out of bed. Besides, I had to complete another photo challenge and made my way to Lennon’s wall where I would be a “beetle”. Lennon’s wall is famous because during communist rule in Prague, John Lennon’s song Imagine inspired students from the local university to protest their situation through graffiti. Each day that the wall was defaced, the city would have it painted over that night. The university students for months just continued to bombard the wall with messages of hope and freedom that the wall its self became a beacon of freedom to a country. It was close to the bridge that I’d crossed the day before so it made it very easy to find. I hassled some tourists that I figured would not make off with my camera and had them take the photo for me. Another successfully completed challenge, yay.

That night I was tired of walking so didn’t go to the bowling pub down the road and instead hung out at the overpriced hostel bar. I met a guy from the UK who was talking up his music ability and was keen to get his drink on. It didn’t take long for me to be annoyed by this tool but I kept quiet and allows him to demonstrate the full extent of his ignorance. He later disappeared for a short time and returned with his guitar. He announced to everyone that he was going to do a gig and that if we felt the need we could show our appreciation with a small donation. Here we go. Arrogance is always best followed up by talent and persistence. Unfortunately for him he only had the latter. I pointed out to him after he murdered a couple of pop songs that perhaps before continuing he should get a better sense of rhythm, he rep he’d to that with “man, I don’t care about the rhythm or the beat because it’s the melody that makes the song.” after having some sympathy cash handed to him, someone from the crowd convinced him to lend his guitar, I don’t know what the girls name was but she was incredible, her sweet voice and prowess on the guitar were such a blissful respite to the tripe delivered by Mr melody that I actually felt sorry for him. Then she played a rhythm that I beat boxed to and later freestyled to and everyone applauded loudly, and it wasn’t just a courtesy clap, people were really enjoying being there. It didn’t take long before Mr melody packed up his guitar and cowered back to his hostel room from whence he came but the atmosphere as been started and we merrily drank and sang songs for the rest of the night until 3am hmmm good luck packing for Ceski Kromlov tomorrow.

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