Czech-mate…and a myriad of other Czech puns from Prague
We arrived in Prague around dinner time. After a 2 hour flight, a bus ride and metro ride to get to the Air Bnb, we were exhausted and excited for the start of break. This was my first time doing Air Bnb and I would highly recommend it. It was the same price as hostels, but it was like having your own private apartment and bathroom in central locations.
We then headed out for a traditional Czech meal. We found a little spot covered by a clear tarp and heat lamps. Oh yeah forgot to mention it was raining pretty hard. I ordered something I couldn’t pronounce based off the picture. Now based off my picture you can imagine how good it was! (We Czeched out some Czech food…get ready for all the puns!)
STREET FOOD: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
In the main market place where dinner was we discovered the beauty of street food, hence my bolded title. There was everything from sausages in baguettes, to chicken and pepper skewers and my personal favorite the trdelnik! The trdelnik is a fried rounded sugar donut and for 10 Czech dollars extra, they smothered it in Nutella! (I may or may not have eaten 5 within the course of 2 days)
But the only down side to street food is the stomach pains. Be weary when traveling!! Street food is good, but like anything please eat in moderation! (That is all I will say on that)
PAV-DAWG AND HIS 8 HOUR TOUR
The first morning we had signed up for a free walking tour. I know this sounds too good to be true, but it is! (Always tip though) We were matched with a man named Pavel, who had lived all over the world and lives with his wife and son.
We loved our first three hour tour so much that we decided to Czech out his three hour tour of the other part of town later in the day (So we followed him around Prague for 8 hours). I won’t go into crazy detail about every building and site, but here were some aspects that stood out to me.
In Prague, there were reforms in religion about 100 years before the Reformation and Martin Luther. There is a statue of Jon Hus. He was burnt as a heretic for reformist ideas 100 years before Luther, in the main square. He too was speaking out against indulgences. I just found this to be an interesting history fact.
He took us to the main sights in Prague: The Prague Castle, Charles Bridge, Old Town Square, St. Vitus Cathedral, the Astronomical Clock and more. Yes all the buildings were gorgeous and I took a bunch of photos that are below, but the most interesting part of the tour was hearing Pavel talk of his grandmother. His grandmother had lived in the same flat in Prague all her life. In the course of her lifetime, without moving, she lived in 8 different countries! After different occupations, wars and other invasions, the country borders changed so frequently. This blew my mind!
We went to the Jewish Quarter for part of the tour. The synagogue here is the oldest in Europe. The interesting dynamics here were how it has changed throughout history. All Jews had to live in this specified area until about the time of the Enlightenment. It was not the best part of town back then and it was on purpose that all the jews were forced into this area. Then during WW2, it was invaded by Germany and many Jews were taken to camps. Over 12,000 Jews from Prague were sent to camps. Now it is beautiful area of town, that luckily was not burned down by Hitler, like most other Jewish towns of the time.
In August 1968, the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia. A Czech student, Jan Palach, decided to sacrifice himself in protest of the invasion and set himself on fire, in Wenceslas Square, on 16 January 1969. There is a statue of his head on a plaque in Prague that stands today. i just found this story crazy, but so interesting as well! Sorry I don’t have too much information on it, but I will be looking him up later.
Pavel ended the tour with an amazing quote. I cannot quote it exactly, but it went something like this: “Happy is the history of the nation whose history is boring to read.” I loved the theme behind this quote and for Pavel it rang true for his country. He told us that Prague changes completely every 20 years. In his lifetime, he has seen many changes as the Czech liberated from the Soviet Union. His last thoughts were about his hopes for his son growing up here. Such an amazing fellow!
Then we “took a trip,” to the Lennon Wall (Sorry…bad pun) and the Lock Bridge. The Lennon Wall is spray painted with a multitude of colors and quotes and a giant head of Lennon. The Lock Bridge is right next to it filled with lovers locks. We watched as a couple threw their key into the river and took pictures.
The next day our Czech out time was at 11:00am, but our bus to Budapest wasn’t until 11:00pm. (You can see the problem) We had all of our suitcases and wandered around the city, thinking of what to do. It was not raining, but cold. We ended up setting up camp on a park bench with all our luggage and taking turns going around. I looked homeless. I was wearing ragged leggings, a hoodie with the hood up and surrounded by all my bags on a bench. We all sat lethargically waiting for our turns to walk around.
During my first turn I scoured the market place, and bought some souvenirs…and a trdelnik. 🙂 During the second turn I took a trip to the top of the astronomical clock. For a small fee, you can climb to the top of the clock tower and get an amazing view! Below you can Czech out some of my photos!
Then we were off on an hour adventure finding our bus to Budapest. I knew my life was going sour when I did not have enough Czech coins to use the bathroom. (This was a low point) This bus was no ordinary bus! We were taking this bus 8 hours overnight and I was pretty nervous to see my cage for the passing time. To my surprise it was set up like an airplane. Each seat had a TV screen with movies and shows and it included a free hot chocolate! (sometimes its the little things for me) My only mistake was going to the bathroom in only socks. Tired and delirious I did not realize my mistake until my feet were wet. At least I had hot chocolate!
Since I am running on no sleep, Ill separate my Spring Break into three blogs. Get ready for some awesome Budapest stories!
Until then…enjoy this photo of my roommate using a penny souvenir machine!