The good, the bad, and the ugly
Prague Travel Blog› entry 2 of 2 › view all entries
To say that Prague is beautiful would be an understatement. I've had my share of trips in the more popular European cities but I have never seen such a city with so many beautiful old structures clustered in one small area. Prague is breathtaking during the day and with sights dramatically illuminated, quite mesmerizing at night.
Old Town Square is particularly beautiful. The cobblestone streets add to the old-feel. The area is surrounded by cafes and restaurants where you can stay and have a view of the Tyn Church and the Astronomical Clock, or watch the world go by.
In Prague, it is best to see everything by foot. I can go on describing all the interesting sights, although I'd like to focus on the things that made an impression on me that you wouldn't find in books ;)
First of all, I loved Czech food! As an Asian living in Ireland, I have always struggled with the fact that while I abhor potatoes, they seem to have a hundred ways of cooking it and they have a certain liking for smothering curry over french fries.
Another aspect I liked is how classical music is so much a part of daily life in Prague. There are concerts going on every night in cathedrals, halls, and theatres.
There were street performers who were so much better than those who charged. In front of the Prague Castle, there was a pair of violinists who played a really moving rendition of Pachelbel's Canon.
Shopping was also quite interesting in Prague. There were plenty of shops selling marionettes and crystals. The miniature Preciosa animal crystals were so cute, i bought 5 of them! There's also a store called Manufaktura which sells local wooden crafts and a range of body products that I really loved. I bought a beer bath (yes, beer! it's good for the skin), and almond vanilla oil bath, and a raspberry and peach bath which smelled really good, i regret not buying more!
Sadly though, in life nothing is perfect, and Prague is no exception. Customer service swings from sincere helpfulness to outright neglect. I've never encountered more rude sellers in my life! When you try to bargain, however nicely, a typical answer would be "then go buy it in the other store, no one forced you to go here." There was this restaurant we went to 2 days in a row because we loved their cake, although the second time, the slice of the cake was obviously half the size of that we got the day before so we asked. The waitress' "brilliant" answer was "The cook is different so the slice is different" and then she stormed off to tell her colleagues and manager about it as if we have bullied her. My goodness!
And here's a classic. My friends and I went to an internet shop and rented 3 computers. We all got the "Page cannot be displayed" error so obviously it wasn't working. We told the attendant and he tried to fix it, but it was taking some time. We said it was okay and we'll just leave but the guy ran and blocked the door and pushed my guy friend and demanded that we paid the 60 korunas (about 2 euros). He was deranged! Since it was not worth our lives, we gave him the money and went to the police. But the police said it wasn't their district and we had to be injured in order to file a complaint. Great. Just great. That's when I started feeling like if something happened to us there, we wouldn't have gotten any help.
To be fair though, there were some people who went out of their way to tell us where we can find the nicest pubs, or other info so I think we were just unlucky with the people we had to deal with.
Overall, I would still recommend Prague to travellers. It is too beautiful to miss, you just have to be careful with who you deal with and maybe try reading about the place or asking around before you go there. At the end of the day, Prague is still no fairy tale wonderland, but it is the closest you can get to seeing one.