Ruth and I
After arriving in Prague, and taking a guess at which â€˜Prahaâ€™ station to get off at (there were three), we arrived in the Czech Republic. We must have looked quite funny, as we followed the crowd of people getting off to the exit of the train stations, and then as everyone else dispersed, we stood there wondering what to do. Ruth even said â€˜are we in Prague?â€™. So we werenâ€™t too organised. In fact, though we did have directions to our hostel, we didnâ€™t have the address, and the directions were from another train station.
Anyway, surprisingly easily enough, we found our way to our Hostel â€“ The elf hostel.
It was about a 15 minute walk out of the Prague town centre, and it didnâ€™t look like a very nice area, however it turned out pretty well because we were out of the main tourist district, so the prices around the hostel werenâ€™t too expensive, and there werenâ€™t big hoards of tourists everywhere, like in the centre. Inside the hostel was really cool, with a nice deck tucked behind it (unfortunately right next to a really busy train line), and it had cool graffiti artwork all through it.
Totally exhausted from the days travelling and the stressful morning, we had a nice dinner at a local restaurant and were asleep by 10:30 pm.
After a very long sleep, we woke the next morning and walked in to town with some American girls who were on exchange in England too.
It was interesting to compare our experiences with theirs. They didnâ€™t seem too happy with their exchange experience so far, whereas we were all really enthusiastic about ours.
Tink, Ruth and I on the Charles Bridge.
We explored the Jewish quarter of Prague, walked along the river and had a delicious buffet vegetarian lunch in the town centre. We also saw the Wenceslas Statue; which is a memorial for the victims of communism in the Czech Republic. The site of the statue is where in the 80s, two demonstrators burned themselves alive in protest of the communist soviet occupancy.
In the afternoon, Jess arrived at the hostel (from visiting her sister in Denmark), and so we had a nice little reunion and shared our stories from the previous couple of weeks over some beers on the deck.
Ruth, Jess and I getting ready to try some absinthe.. (blggh)
As it is traditionally from Czech, and was very cheap there, we thought we should try absinthe while we were there. We even researched the best way to drink it, stealthily trying to avoid the no alcohol in the hostel rule, whilst melting sugar on a teaspoon, and mixing it with water in the absinthe. Despite our best efforts, it was a pretty ghastly drink, and in its modern form is only different from normal alcohol in its high concentration â€“ 70 per cent. After a few drinks at the hostel, we walked in to town to meet a couple of other girls from exchange at Leeds who were also in Prague.
Initially we had planned to go to the 5-storey club in Prague that we had heard a lot about, but in the end, we were so hungry that we didnâ€™t make it past the kebab shop that we spent about an hour trying to find (pathetic, I know!).
We also managed to waste a fair bit of time in front of the famous clock tower in the square in Prague, that apparently a skeleton pops out of and plays a drum, on the hour, every hour. Apparently it was every hour, of every day, of every year, bar the one that we were waiting there for. So along with about 100 other people we waited, and to everyoneâ€™s disappointment, did not see.
The laughing guard
The next morning, we set off in to town to visit the famous Prague Castle. We crossed over the Charles Bridge, which is the most impressive of the many bridges joining the two sides of the city separated by the river. It was really nice to walk through the little cobble-stoned streets up to the castle.
It got pretty steep at some points, but was definitely worth it. They had guards on either side of the entrance to the castle, holding big guns with sharp sword looking things on the ends. We had our photo taken with one of them, who even started to laugh haha. The other one wasnâ€™t so nice.. Tink was sure that he was about to kill her.
View from the top of the bell-tower.
Once we reached the castle, we decided to climb 287 steps up to the top of the bell-tower. It doesnâ€™t sound like much, but when youâ€™re walking in a spiral stone staircase crowded with other tourists â€“ some going up, some going down, and have no idea how far away you are from the end, it is quite a challenge! The view from the top was fantastic though, giving a 360degree view down on Prague and the surrounding area.
Definitely deserving a nice hearty meal after the trek up the bell-tower, we found a cosy and not too touristy (which can be difficult in Prague) restaurant.
We were all keen to sample some traditional Czech beer and food, and while the beer was great, the apparently world-renowned dumplings left a lot to be desired. They were basically just potato mixed with dough, with no flavour and a really thick consistency.
Potato Dumblings... Boo!
After walking back to the hostel we rested for a bit, and having picked up some basics from the shops on the way back, cooked up a risotto storm in the shared kitchen. Tina and Megan (from Leeds) met us at the hostel, and we had some drinks there before heading off into town with some Americans we met at the hostel. We were meant to be meeting Meganâ€™s friend who was studying in Prague and was going to take us to some more genuine Czech places to go out to. Anyway, that never ended up happening. On our way, we went down some stairs and were approached by 4 or 5 Czech guys, who demanded we show them our train tickets.
Not even aware that we had crossed over onto the train station area, and very sceptical of the guys (who werenâ€™t in uniform) we werenâ€™t too concerned at first. They flashed some ridiculous looking badges (looked like toy ones) and said that if we didnâ€™t pay the fine they would call the police. Still not believing them we told them to call the police. We even said that we would call them ourselves haha. Anyway a couple of minutes of embarrassing accusations later the police showed up. Turns out the guys were legitimate. A very drunk Tina was crying her eyes out because one of the guys had her passports. This made it all very amusing for the rest of us. We were then taken to an ATM to get the money out for the fine (which was about $50 each). Poor Tina thought that when she withdrew money from the ATM that she was paying the fee, so was then hysterically demanding her passport back, because she had paid! (meanwhile, she was holding her money in her hand). It was actually very funny, especially considering Tina.
Tink, Ruth, Jess and I.
We then went and bought tickets for the train, only to find, after paying, that the station had just closed haha. After all of this we were all pretty much over going out, and Meganâ€™s friend had long given up on us ever turning up. We headed back to the hostel and spent a couple of hours playing foosball in a bar down the road before heading to bed. Before going to sleep we went to the convenient store across the road for an early morning feast. I was very excited to find that you could buy gherkins there, much to the disgust of Tink and Jess.
Town Square in Prague
The next morning, we only had time to pack, have breakfast and check out, before we went our different ways. Ruth was off to London to meet her mum, Tink was staying an extra night before heading to Italy and Jess and I were heading to Berlin to see her sister and her friend.
After a heartfelt goodbye (Tink and I were going to spend more than 12 hours away from each other for the first time in almost 3 months! Haha, pathetic I know), Jess and I headed to the train station to make our way to Berlin.
Getting ready to move on..
It was freezing cold waiting for the train on the platform (which was 50 minutes late), but once we got on, it was a really nice trip. It was warm, there were hardly any other people on the train and the view outside was really nice.
I had an interesting time in Prague. It was good fun, but I think my expectations were too high, because I had heard so many great things about it. It was very beautiful, and I think that it had the potential to have great nights out, we just had bad luck.
The one thing that annoyed me though, was that the people were generally really unhelpful and unfriendly. Especially after how nice everyone was in Austria, it was a bit of a shock. Nonetheless Iâ€™m really glad that I went, and it was still a really fun few days.
Jess waiting on the freezing platform..