Prague, as we found out when we arrived and had coffee with our Airbnb contact, is a pretty small and very fun city where people are often drunk. This is because Prague has a higher per capita beer consumption than anywhere else in the world. This is also demonstrated by the fact that beer is cheaper than soft drink or coffee. Which makes a great start to this post about fun moments in Prague, as many of them were distinctly influenced by or flavoured with beer.
Firstly, the beer itself. I’m not a big beer drinker when in Australia (and Sarah even less so!), but when you go to a supermarket and see that beer is about $0.65 per 500ml, you start thinking economically. And the giant steins (rivalled only by the ones in Munich) made it feel like a definite experience.
Our awesome apartment was through Airbnb and it was a lifesaver. Zsofi was a fantastic host and it was a great space to call our own for a few days, particularly with a huge amount of local knowledge made available to us about how to dodge tourist prices and find some real local gems.
Dinner at Lokal. I’m not kidding – this place is the real deal. Beef Tartar on fried bread, amazing dumplings, lots of beer and a very accessible, everyone’s-here-for-a-good-time feeling. It was recommended to us by our Airbnb contact and we absolutely loved it – particularly the cards to count the table’s beers!
Trdelniks (which we called turtlenecks). Delicious pastries that are sort of like a long doughnut-bangle covered in cinnamon. Some are stuffed with cream, strawberries, and chocolate. All are delicious.
The giant metronome over the city. We hiked up to see this and it was pretty cool, with a retropunk feel about it, standing over the city and keeping time, in a rhythm all its own.
The Lennon Wall. Originally a gift from John Lennon as a space for public artworks, it’s a multi-layered street-art soapbox where locals and visitors spray and tag messages of happiness, health and harmony.
Walking through Old Town. Just being able to walk across the city was lovely, through the Old Town square, dodging Segway spruikers and tours and bar crawls, and enjoying being surrounded by classic architecture. A bizarre mix of old and new, ready for the hungry eye. And some famous landmarks, like the Tyn Church and Astronomical Clock.
The Prague Castle and Cathedral district. Thoroughly infested with tourists but more than capable of handling them, this area is a serious walk/climb to get to. The crowds our first day were prohibitive, so we went back early on another day to have a proper look before the midday heat and tourist buses turned up. It’s amazing architecture and some interesting stories (like the Prague predilection for throwing politicians out windows, for example – defenestration, from the Latin!) in a pleasant and easy to enjoy setting. Of particular note were the horse stairs, fitted to the castle so the king could ride all the way to the throne room and seat of power!
Down south of Prague’s old town is another castle and church, Vysehrad. It includes an amazing graveyard and beautifully sculpted grounds. It’s a bit of a trip (use the tram!) but just sensational to walk around.
Did I mention the cheap beer?